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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Algae Urban Farm / ecoLogicStudio

The project seeks to provide the Benetton Group with a site specific building prototype able to give material consistence to such a renewed model. It is designed by ecoLogicStudio, a firm mostly oriented towards combining new computational technologies with natural principles and ecosystem processes. The initial idea for the project was found in the “recycling” of past Iranian architectural models and prototypes that are still deeply rooted into the culture of the place and are, at the same time, providing solutions that perfectly fit local microclimatic conditions. However the contemporary business models demand an architectural and material reinvention of those traditional models to accommodate the new spatial and per-formative requirements as well as communication/ branding potentials.
The main local models recycled in the project are: the geometric Islamic patterns and ornaments, employed as organizational principles for the plan, facade and structural systems; passive cooling techniques, turned into an innovative system of solar control and screening as well as passive ventilationand ground cooling; thermoregulatory systems using the thermal mass of the building envelope and the ground, reinvented in a new “deep facade” system using water as thermal storage and heat regulator.
The hybridization of this new model into a new proto-system has been achieved by introducing a set of new components/technologies: fully developed parametric and associative modeling of the entire building, allowing a direct real time manipulation of form and internal organization in relationship to microclimatic, structural and programmatic requirements; an innovative approach to materials and systems engineering, where thermal mass, radiation control, cooling and on site carbon sequestration and renewable energy generation has been embedded in the architectural fabric of the building; this has been achieved by introducing the technology of algae farming directly in the facade and partitioning system of the building. This technique allows for real time adaptation of the skin properties; the facade will be an ever changing living system negotiating seasonal weather patterns and interacting with programmatic and socio-economic developments.

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