While low carbon, carbon neutral and net-zero architecture are sweeping the globe, there are those in the architecture industry who wish to take the carbon impact of a building to the next level.
In the built world of environmental responsibility, there has been no greater green ambition than to develop a building with the least possible environmental impact, both in the construction and operation stages.
With the heightening of green standards, however, green ambitions are also increasing, with designers now looking towards the next progressive step in green building design and development: the carbon cleansing façade.
In a recent spate of green building concepts, such as the retrofit concept for Chicago Marina Tower by US architectural firm Influx_Studio and the Congress Gateway Towers by Danny Mui & Benjamin Sahagun, algae features as a key façade design tool, which offers both aesthetic beauty and functional insulation and actually cleans carbon dioxide and other such pollutants from the air.
So much progress has been made in this particular arena of late that the prevalence of – and prognosis for – ‘carbon-cleansing’ designs is increasingly gaining strength.
In what is expected to be the building with the world’s first bio-reactor façade, BIQ, a smart house for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg, is currently under construction. While this particular algae-covered building will use its unique façade as a power generator rather than as a pollutant cleanser, it sets the benchmark for this new technology and its implementation.
In the same vein, the newly-released plans for Chicago’s CO2ngress Gateway Towers envisions the development of twin towers interlinking across Eisenhower Expressway, connected by one main enclosed bridge.
In functioning as a space to raise public awareness for health, the building itself will be completely clad in a carbon ‘scrubber’ system that is reliant on pollution-fed algae.
Not only was the building designed to raise public health awareness and reduce the negative air quality created by the 77,000 vehicles that will pass by it daily, the designers say the process of the algae filtering the airborne pollutants will be the first step in the processing of biofuel.
Now that technology has caught up with the evolving green vision, these ‘beyond green’ spaces could now become a reality, setting a standard for buildings that not only leave zero carbon footprints, but actually eliminate excess carbon.