An ugly concrete overpass stretching over a roadway with car dealerships on either side isn’t exactly the most likely setting for a modern, technologically advanced algae farm. But this unexpected suburban location has been put to work as a host for one of 13 gardens created as part of the Garden Festival Genéve: Villes et Champs to show that food and plant production can happen anywhere.
Created by Cloud Collective, the algae garden consists of a system of transparent tubes installed on the side of a bridge. The location gets lots of sunlight and CO2, which is exactly what the algae needs to thrive. The tubes filled with greenery brighten up the highway, while little windows enable pedestrians walking along the overpass to peek inside.
A steel structure housing all of the less aesthetically pleasing equipment, like pumps filters and solar panels, serves as a marker that explains the process to the public. The installation literally produces valuable food, biomass, raw materials or air filtration capabilities by feeding on pollution from the site.
Says Cloud Collective, Our site, a viaduct over a small highway, is particularly violent and quite out-of-tune with the idea of the garden as a peaceful natural haven. Instead, we focus on the character of the site and try to prove that even these locations of highways and car dealers – despite their anonymous and generic character – can play an important role in the production of food and biomass.”