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Spatializing Algae 2: Urban Battery
Urban Battery

Urban Battery, by MOS, was the winning entry in last year's Flip a Strip competition, which challenged entrants to rethink and redesign the strip malls of Arizona. In response, the designers offered an “off-the-grid power station, vertical greenhouse and a billboard all at once.”

It's the unabashedly longitudinal literally flipped up.

Urban Battery

Largely leaving the strip mall intact, MOS concentrated on the parking lot, wherein stands a “300’ by 300’ lightweight structure support[ing] a series of thin glass channels housing a network of pipes, tubes, and algae to produce filtered, clean air and gases for biofuel. A system of wind turbines generates electricity supporting the activities of the strip mall and the surrounding neighborhood. It dispenses electricity through wind turbines, breezes and healthy air offsetting the effects of Scottsdale Road and the parking.”

Urban Battery

The team noted that the Scottsdale competition site “lacks any healthy urban infrastructures, no community centers, no pools, no green space, it's a dead quadrant.” To offset this, MOS added public and semi-public spaces underneath this vertical aquarium that would be used for dancing, yoga and other forms of physical activity. Additionally, these spaces are connected to other vertical gardens at other strip malls via bike and walking paths.

All put together, then, here is an urban infrastructure meant to counter the effects of obesity, pollution and urban sprawl.

Urban Battery

Meanwhile, could you pixelate those algae-filled tubes — that is, make them chromatically flicker either by chemical means or through changes in light filtration and salinity or some heretofore unknown method &dmash; so that you could make an avant-garde movie (or an animated billboard ad) to be shown for spectators parked in their cars on the parking lot or for motorists navigating through the urban flatscape?

  • Anonymous
  • March 24, 2009 at 3:57:00 AM CDT
  • Very innovative for sure, I haven't heard about anything like that before. I guess it does not look so great as they say, but it is certainly nicer than a normal billboard.

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