Urban design practice ecoLogicStudio harvests photosynthetic microalgae to help de-carbonize our cities

[UK] The London-based architectural practice ecoLogicStudio, which specializes in bio-digital design, has developed a large-scale installation which stores and filters CO2 to help fight global climate change. Their ‘urban curtain’—dubbed Photo.Synth.Etica—was unveiled this week in Dublin during the 2018 Climate Innovation Summit, where it covered the main façade of the Printworks building at Dublin Castle.

Composed of 16, 2 x 7 meter modules made from a digitally designed and custom made bioplastic, the curtain acts as a photo-bioreactor, harvesting light and carbon dioxide to feed living micro-algal cultures.

“For example, when the Printworks building emits CO2, this is captured by each of our facade’s photo-bioreactors and feeds the living algae cultures within them” explains ecoLogicStudio co-founder Marco Poletto. And “when the sun shines, its energy is captured by the algae cells within the photo-bioreactors that are designed to form an urban curtain in front of the existing building.”

As a result of this process, oxygen is produced and released at the top of each module. The photosynthetic process also leaves behind a biomass, which can be harvested and employed to further produce the main building material for the project.

Photo.Synth.Etica by ecoLogicStudio © NAARO

The designers see their urban curtain as being integrated into new and existing buildings and hope it will put digital and biological intelligence at the core of urban design. “Photo.Synth.Etica suggests” says the architects, “that, in the Anthropocene age, a non-anthropocentric mode of reasoning, could stimulate our collective sensibility to recognize patterns of reasoning across disciplines, materialities and technological regimes.”

The firm has used a similar process in the past to created an Urban Algae Canopy for the Milan Expo in 2015. Current projects include a photosynthetic sculpture for the Centre Pompidou, a research project involving the use of biogel instead of water as the algae medium, 3D printing techniques to prototype architectural photobioreactors, and the design of a façade system for a new museum of microbes in Innsbruck.


View original article at: Urban design practice ecoLogicStudio harvests photosynthetic microalgae to help de-carbonize our cities

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