Attack of the Algae: The Latest Trend in Eco-Architecture


It may sound like a plot device out of Margaret Atwood’s latest, but two Boston design firms take their micro-algae seriously. Seriously enough to propose turning a half-built Filene’s downtown into a vertical tower of “pre-fabricated eco-pods” that incubate the green stuff. Ideally, the tower would become a center to test new bio-fuel producing algae species. Sci fi!

Howeler Yoon Architecture and Squared Design Lab have proposed a little before-and-after action called Filene’s Eco Pods, a series of modular pods that harbor an algae bioreactor. (Scared yet?) The idea isn’t totally outlandish, either, as oil giants BP and Exxon have both recently announced plans to explore the arena of algae-based biofuels. As originally reported in the Boston Globe, in a think piece asking architects what they envision for city buildings half abandoned by a slowing economy:

Robotic arms attached to the building would move the pods around to optimize growing conditions. Voids are created when the pods are reconfigured, leaving behind space for public parks or botanical gardens. Bio-fuel created within the pods is used to power the robotic arms and the remainder would be used elsewhere, possibly to assist construction. Once construction is complete, the pods could be taken and reinstalled on another building and be reused. As Höweler + Yoon says about the project, “This is anticipatory pre-cycled architecture, capable of generating a new micro-urbanism that is local, agile and carbon net-postive.”

Consider us intrigued.

The Filene’s building in its current abysmal state.

[via Inhabitat]