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(Non)Depleted
An investigation into the physical and systemic potentials of algae as a future building material.

Algae as Building Blocks

3D viewing room
Algae as Building Blocks
Studio Tusch
This project is part of (Non)Depleted

Construction industries represent the most resource-intensive industrial sector, with sand being ranked as the second most consumed resource – after water. «Algae as Building Blocks» is a speculative material research, bringing the potentialities of algae as a rapidly regrowing material into focus.

Feeding on components, which we perceive as waste, – such as substances from domestic sewage, agricultural run-off or nutrient surplus from fish farms, algae may contribute to a circular economy system. In addition, the organism captures crucial quantities of CO2 in its biomass. This capacity to store CO2 could be used as one among other possible strategies in combating climate change.

The installation creates a dialogue between the vibrant living being and the manually converted material «algaecrete» linked through steel bars, commonly used in concrete processing. Consisting of two widely distributed types of algae, a green micro-alga Chlorella vulgaris, and a macro-alga Cladophora, the lime-enriched material becomes a solid foundation of the displayed objects.

On a systemic level, the project links to CO2 trading and already existing economic sectors, such as sewage treatment or sustainable fishpond cultivation and aquaponics. These sectors currently cause nutrient surpluses, which are rarely utilized and could be turned into new value, by the algae.

The project was supported by Hafven – www.hafven.de