Airship for Water Relief


11 weeks
Yuanxiang Huang
Drake Zahara
Katherine Lee


Design an airship to provide humanitarian aid to those who have experienced a natural disaster.


In the aftermath of a catastrophic event like the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami, survivors face significant challenges in accessing clean and potable water, exacerbating health risks and hindering recovery efforts.

Existing relief efforts often struggle to provide quick and efficient solutions to meet the critical need for safe drinking water and sanitation.
Project Goals
Distribute clean water and containers to survivors upon arrival.
Provide a consistent water supply until a permanent solution can be provided.
Cater to the crew members who will live within the airship for an extended period of time.
Why Airship?
In disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes it can be difficult to provide quick relief efforts by plane or ground transport due to limited landing and road space. Helicopters also have a limited carry capacity when wide spread relief is needed.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
A water purification process that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove impurities, contaminants, and particles, producing clean and potable water.
Airship Crew
Pilot + Co-pilot
Flight navigation
Sanitation Expert
Maintaining hygienic conditions
Water Specialist
Manage water filtration system
Cultural Liaison
Bridge between crew and survivors
Hikari Hayashi
Disaster Survivor Persona
Age: 16
Location: Tōhoku, Japan
Occupation: Student
Languages: Japanese
Access to potable water
Emotional support

Family recovery
Rebuild community
Regain normalcy
Color, Material + Finish
Spatial Planning
VR Validation
Using Gravity Sketch within a physical space with airship dimensions mapped out in tape to test and confirm design decisions.
Nimbus airship front view
Right Side
Left Side
Cockpit seats rotate to become seating in the lounge area. This transformation allows for more communal seating options.
The lounge space is where the crew gather after work. This area is inviting and provides seating for every member aboard.
Water Testing Lab
The lounge space doubles as a lab, with water testing equipment and drone charging within the sliding storage cabinet.
Water Testing Drone
The water testing drone scopes out the environment, searching for areas of safer water.
Drone Sponge
A natural sponge integrated into the water retrieval basket ensures the water collected does not exit the container.
The kitchenette provides the crew with food storage and amenities needed in preparing food. The drop-down cabinets enable easy access to the needed supplies.
The Nimbus incorporates a small shower with a dedicated changing area. The doors on the shower module slides into its self creating a compact, non-obtrusive and simple interaction.
The Nimbus references restrooms used in air travel that has been proven to work. The restroom incorporates in-wall storage and a hidden door that slides into the wall of the module.
Between the bed and lounge, storage is provided for the crew members personal belongings and equipment
The crew members individually rest in sleeping pods. These pods supply adequate comfort and privacy with sliding fluted blinds.
Climbing up the ladder from the gondola leads to the cargo hold.
Water Filtration
RO system can produce 12,000 GPD(8.3 GPM) to be directly dispensed or stored in the water reserve.
Community Water Distribution
Container Hopper
Nimbus supplies water containers with a continuous hopper system. The hopper system is loaded with pre-filled water containers providing an instant water supply.
Community Supply
The exterior of Nimbus incorporates a communal water distribution module for community members to fill their personal and provided containers.