Green Algae in Responsive Architecture and Design

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Verena M. Schindler



This work considers some architecture projects related to green algae. The first one, “Docks en Seine”—City of Fashion and Design, is a reference to the green foliage of the trees along the Quai d’Austerlitz in Paris (2008). This paper proposes a new interpretation of the building designed by Jakob+MacFarlane Architects by associating it with the prehistoric algae that once flourished in the tropical sea that existed at this exact location some 45 million years ago. A second project discussed in this paper is Toyo Ito’s Sendai Mediatheque (2000) in Japan, whereby the notion of an aquarium with its algae, seaweed, and phytoplankton is employed metaphorically. Thirdly, XTU Architects’ (Paris) use of green microalgae to create bio-reactive façades is reviewed. Also considered is the work of Pierre Calleja, French biochemist and marine aquaculture specialist (Libourne) who has developed CO2-absorbing, microalgae-powered street lamps.

Article Details

How to Cite
Schindler, V. M. (2016). Green Algae in Responsive Architecture and Design. Diseña, (10), 58-73.
Author Biography

Verena M. Schindler, Independent Researcher


Art and Architectural historian, Zollikon. Chair, AIC Study Group on Environmental Colour Design. Member of Ad Chroma, Pro/colore, Centre Français de la Couleur, and Atelier Cler Études Chromatiques, Paris.


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