world's first algae powered building by splitterwerk
original content
apr 12, 2013
world's first algae powered building by splitterwerk

‘ bio intelligence quotient [BIQ] house’ by splitterwerk, wilhelmsburg, hamburg, germany
image © gerhard kemme



the world’s first bio-adaptive facade is installed in ‘BIQ house’ in hamburg, germany. designed by austrian firm splitterwerk in conjunction with arup,
strategic science consult of germany and colt international, the home was unveiled as part of the international building exhibition in hamburg.
essentially, microalgae are used as bio-reactors inside panels that clad the southeast and southwest faces of the building and enclose spacious loggias
where the bio-reactive process will be readily observable to future residents. svelte glass volumes hold algae sourced from a nearby tributary of the elbe
river, creating a responsive architecture that is constantly in motion and is characterized by ever-changing color. not only do the planes act as a shading
device, their exposure to the sun is designed for the algal matter to grow more quickly to produce biomass, a renewable energy source from living
organisms that can be converted into biofuel. in effect, the process of photosynthesis is responsible for a dynamic response to the required solar shading,
while the algae creates harvestable energy while multiplying inside glass louvers. the full potential of the system was realized as a result of a technological
issue arising from overheating photo bioreactors. the dilemma was posited as a solution to the need for high amounts of heat in buildings. while the louvers
are part of a holistic energy concept, excess energy can be stored in buffers or sold back to the local grid. interiors are characterized by a flexible plan, allowing
their inhabitants to configure rooms as needed. long winters and inconsistent summers characterize the site; the prevailing logic is that if the solar-dependent
system can function in hamburg, the technology can be adapted to myriad environments.




glass louvers contain algae harvested from a nearby tributary of the elbe river
image © arup



a video shows th dynamic, functioning panels

video © misterius own



two sides of the building are clad in panels containing live micro-algae
image © arup



prototype of the algae-filled glass louvers
image © splitterwerk



the algal matter generates biomass, which can then be converted into clean energy
image © splitterwerk



micro-algae are not much bigger in size than bacteria, but produce up to five times as much biomass as terrestrial plants
image © splitterwerk



the northern facades are rendered with graphics
image © IBA hamburg



solid, north-facing facades contrast with the responsive glass louvers on the southern faces of the structure
image © IBA hamburg



construction view, right before topping out
image © IBA hamburg



in process
image © IBA hamburg



construction site mid-way through the building process
image © IBA hamburg



in-process site view
image © IBA hamburg



foundation view
image © IBA hamburg



early construction view
image © IBA hamburg



rendering shows the vibrant green building
image © arup



early drawings of the graphic faces
image © splitterwerk



image © splitterwerk



diagram of the energy flow and operating system
image © splitterwerk

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