Urban Algae Folly designed by ecoLogicStudio and supported by INL International Iberian Institute for Nanotechnologies and the City of Braga is the world’s first living edible architecture integrating micro-algal cultures and real time digital cultivation protocols within a soft ETFE skin.
The London based, Turin born, ecoLogicStudio [Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto] is unveiling with this project a new vision of future bio-digital architecture made of microalgae organisms, the project was originally presented at ExpoMilano2015 earlier this year.
This vision is embodied in a photosynthetic, nurturing folly located in Praça da República, Braga.
The architectural prototype, which constitutes a revolution in the conception of building integrated farming and urban agriculture, has evolved from ecoLogicStudio’s six years long research on building integrated bio-digital systems.
The exceptional properties of microalgae organisms [Chlorella vulgaris in this case] are enhanced by their cultivation within a custom designed soft ETFE cladding system. This represents a radically new interpretation of the possibilities of the ETFE cladding. A special CNC welding technology is at the core of it and enables ecoLogicStudio to design and control the morphology of the cushions under stress as well as the fluid dynamic behaviour of the nutritious medium as it travels through it.
The flows of solar energy, water and oxygen are regulated to respond and adjust to weather patterns and visitor's movements in real-time. As the sun shines algae would photosynthesise and grow thus reducing the transparency of the Folly and changing its appearance; since this process is driven by the biology of micro-algae is inherently responsive and adaptive; visitors will benefit from this natural shading property while being able to influence it in real-time; their presence will trigger electro valves to alter the speed of algal flow through the folly provoking an emergent differentiation across the space. In any moment in time the actual transparency and colour of the folly will be the product of this complex set of relationships among climate, micro-algae, visitors and digital control systems.
The Urban Algae Folly will produce 35g of Chlorella every day. In term of protein this is the equivalent of 750g of Meat per day. In 6 months the folly will produce the equivalent of protein of a small size cow, which is enough to four of us in the same period. The Urban Algae Folly is also adsorbing 1.5Kg of CO2 per day, produce 750g of Oxygen per day which is the Oxygen that one of us is breathing every day.
Urban Algae Folly
A project by ecoLogicStudio: Claudia Pasquero, Marco Poletto (London, UK)
Design Team: Marco Poletto, Claudia Pasquero, Andrea Dal Negro, Terezia Greskova, Alberto Chiusoli, Fanny Ciufo, Kyriaki Goti, Olga Carcassi, Nikolaos Xenos.
Digital responsive systems: Alt N – Nick Puckett
ecoLogicStudio: Marco Poletto, Claudia Pasquero, Terezia Greskova,
Fanny Ciufo , Alberto Chiusoli, Olga Carcassi.
Urban Morphogenesis Lab UCL : Claudia Pasquero, Immanuel Koh
Structural Engineering: Format Engineers
Project Management: Paolo Scoglio
Local Construction Support: Cristina Padilha, Hugo Cortez.
ETFE contractor: Taiyo Europe GmbH
Metal Structure: GV Filtri
Microalgae culture: Sciento UK
Commissioned and Supported by: INL Braga, Bioinspired Forum, The City of Braga, The Francisco Manuel De Santos Foundation, EXPOMilano2015, COOP Italia.
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