clean air tower by alexander balchin removes the toxins from china clean air tower by alexander balchin removes the toxins from china
oct 01, 2014

clean air tower by alexander balchin removes the toxins from china

clean air tower by alexander balchin removes the toxins from china
all images courtesy of alexander balchin




pollution carried by emissions of PM2.5 particles in tianjin led to the premature deaths of 1,200 residents in 2011 alone, while increased levels of smog across china have sparked reports of bad wind, carrying significant health and financial costs. the ‘clean air tower’ by alexander balchin combines vertical architecture with industrial technologies and self-generated power, making use of the stack effect to clean 8,500,000 m³ of air per year for residents, office workers and citizens.

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china




breezes are accelerated through the south facing solar chimney reaching a simulated velocity of 8 10ms-1. the current drives turbines at the peak of the tower to produce electricity. this power is used to run electro-static precipitators to ionize soot and PM2.5 particles and collect them at oppositely charged plates inside the shaft. this way, the poisons are retrieved and expelled at the peak, providing clean air for approximately one square mile of the city.

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
city-scale air cleaning system

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
internal air cleaning system 




a separate system of venturi scrubbers is also in use, cultivating a dirt-free environment for workers and residents inside the building. ‘this makes the tower the healthiest and safest place to live and work in the city, allowing people to escape the toxic smog and not fear for their health and the health of their children,’ says balchin.

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin chinaperspective from inside a skygarden 




all of these processes are celebrated and on show in the atrium, visible from every floor, the undercroft, and the special viewing deck at the top of the facility. this industrial aesthetic is carried throughout the organization and goes hand in hand with the expressed mega-structure steel frame.

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
a perspective from inside the solar chimney




the tower is modular, allowing it to be built in toxic regions of the country, then de-constructed and relocated as the atmosphere is improved. the number of units stacked up is determined by the harshness of the air and the office and residential needs of the metropolis. the architecture will therefore be slowly toured around most lethal area, removing the hazardous materials created during the city’s everyday activities. when the quality is safe and stabilized, some of the components can be sold to other nations in need of air filtration.

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
model of one module





punctuating the capsules are sky gardens providing green space for the public and occupants to enjoy a fresh environment where they will have room for exercise and sports, activities that are often prohibited in schools due to the dangers of toxicity. sustainability in architecture typically tries to include PV or otherwise remove CO2 from the air. CO2 is harmless to humans, PM2.5 is toxic. architecture must seek to resolve today’s problems and provide healthy lifestyles all over the world.

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
perspective from inside a sky garden 

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
plan of an office module

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
plan of a residential module

alexander balchin clean air tower tianjin china
the model in the site context



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here. 

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