My project seeks to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with a novel direct air capture technology which captures the carbon dioxide with hydroxides. The carbonates are then heated with renewable solar concentrated power to release pure carbon dioxide which is pumped into greenhouses of crops or beds of azolla fern (one of the world’s fastest biomass-producing plants which absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide). The azolla is used on this city farm as biofertilizer, a feedstock for animals and as a human superfood. The produce grown in the greenhouses will be sold at the local food market on-site or used in stalls preparing fresh healthy meals to be consumed in the community food hall.
In terms of geometry, this project explores biomimicry by taking the rhombic dodecahedron lattice from the efficient honeycomb structure to aggregate the hexagonal structure. As the project site is utilising the space above the railway tracks, the design is parametrically driven so that the lattice can flow along the railway lines and the geometry can be adapted to any tracks in London.
The lattice design and carbon sequestration come together to create Carbonquest which is a carbon negative city farm with food halls and markets.
TERRA gets it’s name from the raw earth that is used as the main building material to 3D print the housing modules. As the brief was about archologies, I set out to bring the self-sufficient, countryside lifestyle into East London. The eco village consists of four 10-storey high communities which each are centred around a digester which reuses the waste to create the power on site as well as bio-gas for fuel. Each housing unit has it’s own greenhouse made from 3d printed bioplastic surrounding their home to grown their own food and there are also external allotments and composting facilities on site.
With climate change and the world turning to new sustainable alternatives of producing energy and recycling materials, we as designers should be thinking of new ways of reusing waste and using resources available to us. Human waste has many uses and should not just be flushed down the toilet and sent away to the sewers. It should be returned back to the soil with all it’s nutrients to help grow food, instead of the use of chemical fertilisers.
Both urine and faeces are useful resources in their own ways but have to be separated out. I have designed a toilet and system which splits the two.
Human excrement if kept in anaerobic conditions in a sealed container will start to produce methane. The higher the temperature, the faster the material decomposes, and the higher the rate of production of methane gas. This methane can be used as an energy source.
Urine can be diluted to make a natural fertiliser which should be applied directly to the root system of the plant. It is best to do this immediately or within 24 hours to ensure that ammonia is not released which causes it to smell. However animals will be able to detect the smell and hence it acts as a natural animal repellent.
Urine fertiliser is particularly beneficial for plants which require a lot of nitrogen to grow like tomato plants.
I was inspired by the unusual, striking form and scale of the baobab trees, native to Africa. They are sometimes referred to as “the upside down tree”. They swell up drawing in all the water they can, storing it inside their trunk like a water tank, to ensure they will survive in the dry months.
I explored ways of achieving this swelling geometry on Grasshopper, and used the plugin called Fattener to grow the shape in different areas, controlled by separate parameters.
I then unravelled this radial shape, and tested other options to see which one received the most sunlight all year round.
The toilet pods needed to have the right balance between privacy for the users, and receiving the most sunlight for the tomatoes. I used expressions on Grasshopper to cull the faces of the mesh in a certain way to make sure the parts of the pods that you could see into were made from timber, and the other parts would be made from bio-polycarbonate to let in sunlight for the tomatoes.
Instead of this stepped geometry achieved from culling faces, I added veining with the new Rhino 7 multipipe tool and separated the geometry this way.
Using the plugin Anemone with Grasshopper, I analysed the how the rain would fall on the pods and the overhang to collect rainwater to mix with the urine to then fertilise the tomato plants.