The Buzz

Architects and Engineers Envision Algae and Buildings

May 12, 2011
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

From Linda Hales at metropolismag.com, a story about the proposed energy retrofit of a Los Angeles federal building called “Process Zero: Retrofit Resolution,” winning the 2011 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition.

The winning design team, 15 architects and engineers working mostly in the Washington, D.C., offices of HOK and Vanderweil, combines an array of proven renewable strategies with energy-producing microalgae.

Developed in partnership with the General Services Administration, this year’s challenge was to bring a typical, energy-guzzling 1960s federal building—an eight-story structure in downtown L.A.—to a net-zero energy standard.

Scott Walzak, a 25-year-old junior designer at HOK who completed a master’s degree at Roger Williams University just last year, persuaded colleagues to think abstractly and look to nature—see the building as a living cell.

Developing the algae module and bioreactor fell to Sean Quinn, a 31-year-old sustainable-design specialist for HOK and the lead architect and project manager for Process Zero. Quinn transferred the mechanics of tube technology to the side of a building, adding a full-scale closed system of holding tanks and filtration ponds. Inside the glass tubes, the algae swim in a slurry of recycled wastewater and consume carbon dioxide siphoned from an air-intake pipe at the freeway. In principle, oxygen would be pumped out to the street as a byproduct, and oil pressed out of the algae and processed to provide some of the building’s power.

Walzak designed the tubular setup as a neat, panelized grid that gives the building far more than a metaphoric green cast. Team members agree that Walzak’s living cell provided the “Aha!” moment, when biomimicry emerged as their core principle. “It was no longer about countering energy use; it was going back to the beginning,” says John Jackson, a 30-year-old team architect at HOK. As for the algae, “it was definitely an out-there idea, but not so out-there that it couldn’t be done.”

See full story: http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20110512/group-effort-the-next-generation-2001-winner

Go to HOME Page

Copyright ©2010-2011 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Visit the A.I.M. Archives

AIM interview ArchivesAlgae 101 ArchivesHot Products ArchivesInnovations ArchivesMoney ArchivesProcess ArchivesResearch ArchivesScale Up ArchivesThe Buzz Archives

FREE Algae News & Updates

Sign up to receive breaking A.I.M. updates!

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Analia Murias 
reports for fis.com that Chilean exports of products made from macroalgae generated a total of $195 million US in the first seven months of 2014, according...
Arizona is taking advantage of its open land and ample sunshine to assume a leadership position in the algae biofuel field. The state is home to two national algae testbe...
Phys.org reports that, in collaboration with the Berlin, Germany LED manufacturer FutureLED, scientists at the Technische Universität München have developed a unique comb...
Kevin Valine at the Modesto Bee writes that the California city of Modesto may sell the algae that grows in its roughly 1,000 acres of sewer ponds at its Jennings Road wa...
While aquafarmers in Maine have been harvesting seaweed for nearly 80 years, for a variety of uses and products, in recent years wild harvests have not been able to meet ...
Rich McEachran writes in the Guardian that, in the process of surfacing a road, layers of asphalt – which is composed mostly of bitumen (a byproduct of crude oil distilla...
The fully automated plant at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna, Germany, was designed to produce microalgae at industrial scale. ...
Joule has announced the issuance of a patent on the direct, continuous production of hydrocarbon fuels — extending its ability to target the highest-value molecules of th...
Flint Michigan’s water supply was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014. The Flint is so notoriously dirty that some locals call it the Filth River. The cha...
John Wiegand writes for MiBiz.com that, as the craft brewing industry matures, many West Michigan producers have started seeking out technology that provides sustainable ...
A $300,000 greenhouse will be constructed, and the Maine Algal Research and Innovation Accelerator (MARIA) will be formed, on the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences' c...
Marco Poletto, is both a PhD student at Aarhus School of Architecture and partner in London-based ecoLogicStudio, a firm which creates eco-friendly urban systems that int...