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XTU Architects proposes towers overgrown with algae for Hangzhou

XTU Architects proposes towers overgrown with algae for Hangzhou

The French studio XTU Architects has developed a concept for four winding glass towers in Hangzhou, China, the facades of which are clad with panels impregnated with microalgae.

The studio's design for French Dream Towers includes the patent-pending "Bio Facade" technology.

The concept includes the introduction of a layer of algae for natural insulation and the compensation of the environmental impact of the building by absorbing carbon dioxide and generating oxygen.

"The culture of microalgae on the building facade is a process that XTU has been developing for several years," the architects explained in a statement.

"It enables the symbiosis: the bio-facade uses the thermal building to regulate the culture temperature of algae, and at the same time these facades enable a much better thermal insulation of buildings."

Glass towers can prove to be problematic from an environmental point of view, as they simultaneously allow heat to escape and gain by glare from the sun.

The engineering office Arup was a pioneer in algae facades five years ago. It was the first algae-powered building in the world in Hamburg. In addition to the shade, the microalgae growing in the glass slats could be used to generate renewable energy.

XTU Architects has also suggested that the algae in the case of their Hangzhou towers could be harvested for use in medicine or cosmetics.

Algae are enjoying increasing popularity in beauty products due to their high protein and nutrient density, while the mucus secretions of the photosynthetic organism are said to have moisturizing properties.

Other green elements of the French Dream Towers proposal include panels covered with vegetation and greenhouses on top of the tallest glass towers filled with trees that filter the air and provide residents with a green place to relax.

The shape of the towers and the rippling podium that connects them all at their base are designed so that rainwater on the sides slides through the opening in the center into the basins below.

"Hangzhou is a city where water is very present. We want to continue, update and emphasize this tradition," explained the architects.

Each of the towers should cover topics chosen to demonstrate "French expertise". One is for the kitchen and would have fusion restaurants and a panoramic bar. The Hospitality Tower would include a hotel, spa, and beauty salon.

A tower dedicated to the arts would have its own gallery and artist residences, and the final tower would be dedicated to the future-oriented business with offices, a launch accelerator, and workspaces.