Parisian architects propose an algae-green loop for Marina City in Chicago

December 10, 2011

Parisian architects propose an algae-green loop for Marina City in ChicagoParisian firm Influx Studio is proposing a radical retrofit of the Marina City towers in Chicago.  The renovation of the buildings would result in a variety of green innovations and architectural features that would result in renewable energy, vertical agriculture and cleaner air.

Influx studios has proposed an algae-green loop retrofit for Marina City.  While certain new features would be added to both towers, each tower would have its separate functions as well.  On top of both would be a a series of vertical wind turbines similar to those produced by Helix Wind.  The turbines would turn regardless of the direction of the wind.  The height of the buildings would place the turbines at an altitude where wind is plentiful.  Marina City is after all in Chicago, the Windy City.

Marina City tower

Below the turbines would be CO2 scrubbers. Besides providing energy for the building, the wind turbines would work the ventilation system for the CO2 scrubbers. The scrubbers would absorb CO2 while releasing O2.  The CO2 would be used by the algae bioreactors to produce biofuel and excess carbon dioxide would be sold to pharmaceutical companies for use in their products.

Apartment balconies would be covered by photovoltaic panels which would also be used to provide power for the building.  The electricity generated would be used by individual apartments and to recharge electric vehicles.  Excess electricity would be sold to the electric grid.

Wastewater from the apartments flows down to a wet garden located on the spiral ramp of the west tower.  It’s purified and then used for grey water like the toilets and vegetable gardens of the apartments.  The east tower has closed loop algae bioreactors on its spiral ramp that manufacture biofuel. 

Marina City algae reactors and wet gardensVertical farming is also expected of the inhabitants of Marina City not just in the wet garden but also on apartment balconies.  The vegetables grown can be traded or sold among the tenants. The assumption is that only people with green thumbs would  live in the towers.  Those with black thumbs need not apply.

Overall, Influx Studio’s has a very complex, very green proposal for the Marina City retrofit.  It would definitely involve not only improving the structure with insulation and energy efficient window updates but would provide a model of the incorporation of green technology to not only improve the living conditions within the towers but also within the city.

Influx Studio has certainly submitted an ambitious proposal for the Marina City retrofit.  Let’s see if the proposal is adopted. 

Illustrations from Influx Studios.

Marina City retrofit

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