In today’s age, everybody you meet will be of the opinion that pollution is bad and deforestation needs to be stopped. However, they are not doing anything to stop and forests are still being cleared at an alarming rate. London’s ecoLogic Studio has risen up to the challenge and has done something about it. Even though it will not stop deforestation, it provides oxygen that the environment is robbed as a result of cutting down those trees.
At the “Feeding the Planet Expo” in Milan, 2015, The London based studio demonstrated a working prototype of its Urban Algae Canopy. The bio-digital structure uses a fluid filled with micro-algae organisms pumped around an otherwise transparent shelter to produce dynamic shade. Other by-products include energy in the form of biomass and a staggering amount of oxygen that would be produced by 4 hectares of forest.
The canopy is able to function in real time and responds to environmental factors as well as the presence of visitors. As people walk through each area of the canopy, they trigger electro valves that alter the speed at which the algae flows through the canopy. When it’s sunny, the microalgae naturally photosynthesize and grow, turning the fluid a deeper shade of green and providing extra shade when it’s needed.
A representative stated, “The flows of energy, water and CO2 are therefore regulated to respond and adjust to weather patterns and visitors’ movements. As the sun shines more intensively algae would photosynthesise and grow thus reducing the transparency of the canopy and increasing its shading potential; 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 canopy provoking an emergent differentiation across the space.”
The Urban Culture Canopy is a result of six years of research conducted under Future Food District project led by Carlo Ratti Associati. Claudia Pasquero of ecoLogic Studio said that “It is now time to overcome the segregation between technology and nature typical of the mechanical age, to embrace a systemic understanding of architecture. In this prototype, the boundaries between the material, spatial and technological dimensions have been carefully articulated to achieve efficiency, resilience, and beauty.”
This technology that brings different disciplines of science together may very well be the answer we were looking for. You can see it in action in the video below: