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
A new $1 million relationship between Michigan State University and ExxonMobil will expand research in the fundamental science to advance algae-based fuels. Dr. David Kra...
Glass tubing manufacturer SCHOTT, and Algatechnologies Ltd. (Algatech), a commercial algae producer and one of the largest manufacturers of natural astaxanthin, have part...
The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, located in College Park, Maryland, has invested $150,000 into Manta Biofuel LLC, a company that produces crude oil from algae at a c...
The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built a one-of-a-kind technical facility for algae cultivation at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn, to the south of Muni...
The Symbiosis Center in Denmark is exploring the industrial potential of microalgae, reports EUobserver's Regional Focus magazine. Using CO2 and light to produce valuable...
Ewen Callaway writes in the jounal Nature that restrictions on harvests and exports of Gelidium seaweed in Morocco have affected the global supply of the lab reagent agar...
While researchers have long suspected that climate change will lead to stronger and more frequent algal blooms, a new fusion of climate models and watershed models has pr...
Students of algal research, including it's various applications and business models, have increasing opportunities to get quickly up to speed in many aspects of the rapid...
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 ...
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...
Abigail Klein Leichman writes in ISRAEL21c that, in the rush to research algae-based technologies, Israel – as a startup nation itself – is at the forefront of much of th...
Kailua Kona-based Cyanotech Corporation announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal year 2016, ended December 31, 2015. For the thir...