The Active Phytoremediation Wall System is a modular
system of pods, housing hydroponic plants. Its main purpose is to
encourage airflow and contribute to the quality of life through its air
cleaning capacities. The project is a result of a collaborative research
between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
It is a bio-mechanical hybrid system that produces ‘fresh air’ from
within buildings, thereby reducing the energy consumption. Because the
plants’ roots are exposed, instead of being buried in soil, the plants’
air-cleaning capacity increases by 200 to 300 percent. The pods
themselves are made from vacuum-formed plastic, and the form allows the
maximum amount of air to reach the root rhizomes while using the minimum
amount of material. It also creates a beautiful base for the plants.
The wall system can
be installed in large commercial interiors, but works equally well in
small settings—a four-module system in an apartment would have the
impact of 800 to 1200 house plants.
Researchers: Emily Rae Brayton, Ahu Aydogan
Testbed Site: Public Safety Answering Center II, Bronx, N.Y.
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York—Carl Galioto
(technical partner); Gary Haney (design partner); Peter Magill (managing
partner); Rob Rothblatt (senior designer); Joseph Sacco (project
manager); Carl Brown (technical coordinator); Julie Hiromoto (project
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