umeå eco city
My first design project at Umeå Arkitekthögskola demanded a radical approach to sustainability for the city of Umeå.
By analysing waste processing in Sweden, I found most refuse was burnt for the cogeneration of heat and power at district heating stations. To shift from incinerating waste to local energy production and the recovery of biological and technical nutrients, I proposed a biological waste plant in the city centre.
As well as a base for Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet and student accommodation, the facility had two primary functions: capturing NOx from vehicle emissions to grow microalgae; and using citizens’ organic refuse to safely produce methane. These processes required two distinct technologies: glass tanks to grow the microalgae in a mixture of grey water and car emissions; and biodigesters within which organic waste could ferment. The methane would be used in cogeneration while its by-product, a liquid digestate, and the microalgae would provide nutrient rich fertilisers for new community gardens.
The main structure was CLT. On the ground and first floors, this structure was glazed with proportioned buffer zone to hold straw bales for insulation in the winter and otherwise function as a greenhouse. The second and third floors were clad in timber and used non-load bearing straw bales for insulation. Three rammed earth cores, providing massive thermal storage, were extruded through the floors.