algae bio-display
october 2015
Originally proposed for the new Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (2017), the Algae Bio-Display looks at the use of algae and its many beneficial properties – carbon sequestration, water filtration, and its potential use as a biofuel - as a façade system. Positioned between the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and the Pérez Art Museum Miami, a large 40' vacant vertical wall facing the East is activated to become not only a visualization display using algae but also a system that filters greywater and carbon dioxide from the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. In addition, the Algae Bio-Display provides cooling and irrigation for people and plants in the plaza below. A proof of concept prototype was built testing the visualization capabilities of this proposal, more information can be found here.

Algae Bio-Display won the AIA Miami Honor Award of Excellence - Un-built Project 2017.
lead
Rodolphe el-Khoury
Christopher Chung
Veruska Vasconez
team
Claudia Aguado
Frank Chen
Zhengrong Hu
Nika Mirrafie
Haochi Zhang
role
My involvement with this project was at RAD-UM (rad-um.com) in which I was one of the Lead Designers while overseeing the production of drawings and presentation material.
type
public space
interactive
Algae is contained within 12" x 12" x 2" transparent boxes, each with individually addressable LEDs, in which through photosynthesis, we can control the rate of growth of the algae housed within each container. The more light that is given to each container, the more it grows; the more it grows, the denser and greener the algae becomes. As a result, you can think of each container as a monochromatic pixel that displays varying shades of green.
Individually adressable LEDs housed within each container controls the rate of growth of the algae, thus - over time - controls the colour of the algae.
When amalgamating the containers, the containers become a pixelized low-resolution display. Over time, the image is generated through the individually addressable LEDs. When the image is done, the algae is cleared and used for biofuel in which the image then becomes "refreshed" and a new image is grown.
Tubing connects each container, using the algae to sequester carbon and filter water from the building.
When aggregating each individual container across a large surface, like the East facing vertical wall on the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, a pixelized display is created. Over time, by controlling the LEDs to each container, we can create a variety of images. Additionally, as previously mentioned, Algae can be used to filter water and sequester carbon, in which we propose that this display system can also be connected to the building's greywater and HVAC system to filter water and sequestering carbon.
A section of the system in which greywater from the building is filtered by the Algae Bio-Display and used to cool and irrigate people and vegetation below.
An APP can be used connecting people to the public space, allowing users to keep updated to the progress of the image without physically being there. In addition, the APP allows for public participaion in which users can propose images to be displayed, while other users can vote for images that they would like to see grown. Finally, the APP can be used as an educational tool aligning the the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science's agenda, informing visitors how the Algae Bio-Display functions.
Sample GUI of APP connecting users to the public space.
Proposed example of an image displayed on the Algae Bio-Display - a bar graph of water conservation per capita of each neighbourhood in Miami.
Perspective of the Bio-Display from below.