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AirBubble

Warsaw, 2021

The world’s first biotechnological playground
integrating air-purifying micro-algae cultures

by ecoLogicStudio

for Otrivin Breathe Clean

London-based architecture and innovation firm ecoLogicStudio
www.ecologicstudio.com, led by Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, has
designed AirBubble for Otrivin Breathe Clean www.otrivin.pl/airbubble.html. The innovation brings to life the world’s first biotechnological playground to integrate air-purifying micro-algae.

Introduction
Instruments

AirBubble creates a purified microclimate for children to play in, a true bubble of clean air in the centre of Warsaw (Poland). The project is located within the public green space outside of the Copernicus Science Centre (Centrum Nauki Kopernik), a site which will also host a dedicated exhibition illustrating the design innovation behind the invention of AirBubble. The playground integrates the Photo.Synthetica technology for the advanced integration of photosynthesis in the built environment.

The Architecture

AirBubble invents a new architectural typology. It incorporates a cylindrical timber structure wrapped in an ETFE membrane protecting 52 glass algae reactors. This creates a real urban algae greenhouse. The space is equipped with ropes, foot pumps and bouncy spheres, and can function as both playground and outdoor classroom.

The filtering process is enhanced by the architectural morphology of the playground structure. The ETFE membrane – an evolution of the PhotoSynthetica urban curtain system presented in Dublin in 2018 by ecoLogicStudio – controls the microclimate inside AirBubble. The inverted conical roof membrane further stimulates the air recirculation and natural ventilation, which in turn keeps the play area clean.

The white bubbling noise of the algae gardening system masks the

surrounding urban noise to provide a calming atmosphere in which to play and interact.

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“There is untapped value in bringing the bio-intelligence of natural systems into cities, turning buildings into living machines that produce energy, store CO2 and clean the air. To achieve this, we need to think about the living world as a part of the current digital revolution: nature becomes part of a new bio-smart infrastructure.”


— says Marco Poletto, co-founder of ecoLogicStudio.

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The Urban Algae Folly

Air Purification

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is the biggest global health threat. Warsaw was selected as the first activation for this project as it is one of the most polluted cities in Europe.

The AirBubble monitoring system integrates urban air pollution sensors and is connected to a data processing platform capable of comparing measurements in real time and of highlighting the Air Quality Index for six core pollutants: fine particulate PM2.5 and PM10, ground level Ozone (O3), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Monoxide  (CO).

AirBubble is capable of absorbing 97% of the nitrogen and 75% of the particulate matter in the air. Early data collected in May 2021 shows concentrations of PM2.5 within the playground have fallen well within the recommended WHO limits (green zone, AQI below 20). The peak reduction rate is an impressive 83%.

This figure has been calculated by comparing readings from a pollution sensor located outside AirBubble with real-time data feeds from a monitoring device placed inside. The monitoring phase will continue throughout the summer and into the autumn to verify these promising achievements over a longer period of time, under different climatic conditions and patterns of use.