We expect architecture to be solid; to be strong, sturdy, hard, and static. But when we look at the history of architecture it started with natural materials constructed into soft structures, mainly tents constructed by...you guessed it...women whose names and stories have not been preserved in our histories.
EcoLogicStudio at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2020
But there are some incredible advancements being made today that utilize the wisdom of original architectural structures and materials. Including the Algae Curtain designed by Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto of EcoLogicStudio an architectural and urban design-focused firm inspired to create a safer more sustainable environment. Their manifesto describes a deep motivation to utilize natural, organic materials and systems to redefine cities.
Claudia Pasquero & Marco Poletto from the EcoLogicStudio, working on the Algae Curtain
The Algae Curtain is a cladding - a “skin” - applied to existing exteriors (although it seems that EcoLogic’s innovations and new projects are taking them beyond covering and into foundational structures). This “photobioreactor” looks to be constructed using quilting and sewing techniques creating cavities between layers of bioplastic textile that contain living micro-algal cultures. Besides filtering and cleaning urban air into fresh, clean air as it passes through the system from bottom to top of these curtain-like panels, the algae cultures have a natural bio-luminescence, creating natural brightness on the city streets. And the snake-like pattern is both visually appealing and efficient in its carbon sequestration process.
EcoLogicStudio, BioSynthetica Architecture Project Sketch
In one installation on the facade of the Print-Works building at Dublin Castle in 2018, it was reported that approximately one kilo of CO2 was captured from the atmosphere every 24 hours. In other words, this algae curtain did the job of 20 large trees in a single day.
The Algae Curtain on the Print-Works building, Dublin Castle, 2018
Claudia Pasquero is a founding director and designer of EcoLogic Studio and the Algae Curtain. She is also a senior faculty at the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Barcelona, Spain among many other impressive and exciting accolades.
It is a goal of this writer to learn more about Claudia and how textiles historically from material, structural and social perspectives have influenced her work. She is among an impressive group of women throughout time working with textile in architecture, many of whom we have not yet had the opportunity to know due to the nature of world history.