A number of 6.6 million tonnes of food waste is recorded in the UK every year, which equals to 3 quarters of the total food consumption. The current food waste collection system is inadequate and limited. Therefore, my design is serving as a solution to London’s food waste problem. The project BioCity, involves the use of biogas technology in a residential community, collecting food waste and manure from the residents, converting them into energy such as cooking and vehicle fuels that are sufficient to supply the whole housing and benefit nearby communities as well. The self contained residential hub is proposed over the high speed 2 train tracks at the Old Oak Common railway station, to cope with the increasing housing needs in the area. The cocoon-shaped housing units are arranged in a hexagonal grid, then array in relation to different sets of grid line identified in the railway tracks, creating a continuous pathway that circulates around the site. As a modern residential hub, BioCity proposes live-work housing units in various sizes to cope with the lasting impact of the pandemic on working styles. The flexibility of glulam timber is explored in the proposal, along with the use of rubber sheets, bringing in the nature of biogas into the dynamic façade system. The use of rubber pillow façade units can provide shading and insulation by filling air in between the rubber layers.
The project ‘BioBreathe’ proposes an innovative way to integrate biogas technology into mobile architecture, in order to encourage the use of renewable energy in households and educate the public about waste removal alternatives. The biomachine consists of curved wood panels with detailed cuts acting as skin, which will move along with the naturally contracting and expanding movements of anaerobic digestion, simulating the chest movement of breath in and out. It functions as a portable unit which can be assembled anywhere to transform waste collected into energy.
Anaerobic digestion occurs naturally, in the absence of oxygen, as bacteria break down organic materials and produce biogas. The process reduces the amount of material and produces biogas effectively, which can be used as an energy source. It is relatively cheap compared to other sustainable energy and easy to set up even in domestic settings. A household biogas plant is approximately 1000 pounds which can provide adequate daily cooking gas and fertilizers to a family. With simple operation and distinct output, it will surely increase awareness of the novel sustainable solutions.
The expandable skin is first experimented with paper models, then tested on thin plywood sheets in the fabrication lab at school. Being a postgraduate student in the University of Westminster, it will be a precious experience to build and publicize my own design. It will be a showcase for sustainable architecture that gathers talented design students to join the team of fabricating the structure.
The machine is initiated by inserting waste into the digester , gas created will go through a gas pressure mechanism and active filter, then released by a gas pipe to provide energy for a burning flame. The wood skin follows the movement of the gas holder, expanding when more gas is collected, vice versa. The structure is scalable, which can be developed into a larger plant to provide energy for communities.
To increase engagement of the community, BioBreathe is proposed to be built at the Old Oak Common Railway Station, which will offer unrivalled connectivity to the high speed two railway. The expected high flow of circulation will furthermore promote the project and impact the society.