Biologically active architecture could pave the way for a whole new method of urban farming, with far more uses than just growing food. In fact, our built environments could be living organisms in and of themselves, eating, breathing and growing just as we do. One striking example is the Algaeculture Feeding System, developed by Carlo Ratti Associati as part o the Future Food District Project at Expo Milano 2015.
The pavilion is made up of a faceted geometric canopy filled with micro-algae that take in energy from the sun, absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Carlo Ratti explains that these organisms are ten times more efficient photosynthetic machines than large trees and grasses. Not only do they clean the air, they can also be turned into biomass for energy, cosmetic and pharmaceutical uses.
These algae farms could be integrated into the cladding of urban architecture and farms to aid in the fight against global warming while providing a valuable resource. There are benefits to the structures they’re added to, as well, increasing their passive performance so they require less energy to heat and cool.
Algae has all sorts of unexpected uses, making ‘pond scum’ a little less of an epithet than it used to be. It can power lamps, cars, and potentially entire cities. Check out 13 intriguing alternative uses for algae.