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...
MicroBio Engineering, Inc., of San Luis Obispo, California, has introduced a full suite of open pond microalgae growth systems designed for quick deployment of research- ...
As one of the most water-poor countries in the world, Jordan’s current water resources are significantly below the global water scarcity line. Annual rainfall falls under...
None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn’t know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn’t prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics ...
Tubular glass photobioreactor (PBR) systems protect algae from harmful environmental factors, keeping strains safer from bio-contamination. The glass tubing itself can be...
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...
In Japan, the Algae Biomass Energy System Development Research Center, headed by Professor Makoto Watanabe, was established at the University of Tsukuba on July 1. The ne...
You know algae are a great food source for you. But what are the best ways to eat it? Jami Foss writes in shape.com about 10 ways to eat algae that are common, healthy an...
Currently made most often from petroleum and natural gas, ethylene is used in the manufacture of plastics and polyester, and ranks as the largest petrochemical produced b...
I’m an aquanaut teen. I was born in immersion in 2050 in an underwater farm called “Aequorea” off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Bio-inspired, the farm draws its name from ...
The Algae and Biofuels Laboratory at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is partnering with Lianhenghui Investment Company to construct a...
Bioenergy-news.com reports that Volkswagen showcased its algae biogas-powered vehicle at a biogas project based in El Torno Chiclana, a town in south-west Spain. The test...