Pitch:Africa is a soccer venue that doubles as a rainwater collection system, thanks to cisterns stored underneath the soccer pitch.

Pitch:Africa is a soccer venue that doubles as a rainwater collection system, thanks to cisterns stored underneath the soccer pitch.

Credit: Atopia Research

Capitalizing on World Cup fever and the spotlight that the tournament brought to the African continent during the end of June and beginning of July, the Annenberg Foundation, a Los Angeles–based foundation that funds nonprofit organizations, unveiled a soccer field, called “Pitch:Africa,” that doubles as a rainwater system. Designed by architects David Turnbull and Jane Harrison of Princeton, N.J.–based Atopia Research, the project revolves around transforming abandoned cargo containers into cisterns that capture, filter, and store rainwater in regions where water is scarce or unavailable. Installing a soccer field, or pitch, above the containers creates a community gathering space.

Pitch:Africa is a soccer venue that measures 64 feet by 80 feet and can seat up to 800 spectators. The structure captures rainwater after it falls on the playing field and the seating areas. From there, the water is funneled into cisterns stored beneath the pitch, where it can be kept until it is treated for reuse.

It is estimated that 3 to 6 feet of rainfall is typical during a rainy season in temperate regions of Africa, and Atopia Research’s system is designed to capture up to 1.8 million liters of water annually in these areas.

A small model was built at the Port of Los Angeles in California during the World Cup to formally launch the project. The Annenberg Foundation has partnered with Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to build a working model in South Africa.

Rendering courtesy Atopia Research