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Via bustler the future is green – algae green
An ambitious zero-energy retrofit proposal for a downtown Los Angeles federal building has just won the first prize of the 8th Annual Next Generation Design Competition, presented by Metropolis magazine in partnership with the General Services Administration. The brief of the competition’s 2011 edition asked architects and planners to design a Zero Environmental Footprint for this 1,172,746 sqft, eight-story, 1960s energy-guzzling federal building, considering any scale of intervention—from windows to light fixtures to interior spaces to building envelope to urban context. The jury praised the innovative approach of the winning entry “Process Zero: Retrofit Resolution.”
The Winning Idea A Retrofit Solution Energy-Production Envelope Systems: The dominant features of the Process Zero retrofit are apparent on the skin: solar arrays on the roof and built into the facade would power electric and thermal heating systems, while panels of microalgae in thin glass tubes would serve as a photobioreactor, adding up to 9 percent of the building’s power supply.
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The Retrofit Resolution proposal combines an array of proven renewable strategies with something unheard of in architecture: energy-producing microalgae. Scott Walzak, lead exterior designer on the project says: “It’s never been done in a building, but it’s practical technology in a new way.” Biomimicry emerged as the team’s core—and maybe winning—principle. “It was no longer about countering energy use; it was going back to the beginning,” says team member John Jackson.
The multidisciplinary winning team is composed of architects and engineers, many of whom working in the Washington, D.C. offices of HOK and Vanderweil: Brandon Harwick, Anica Landreau, Alesia Call, Jarek Bieda, Colin Benson, Patrick Murphy, Antony Yen, Scott Walzak, Sean Quinn, John Jackson, Monika Kumor, Ming Hu, Sean Williams, Iyabo Lawal, and Stephen Lahti.
The jury also announced four runners-up:
Images via Metropolis.