IKEA's external future-living lab Space10—whose mission is to develop and design new, sustainable ways of living—in collaboration with architects Aleksander Wadas, Rafal Wroblewski, Anna Stempniewicz, and bio-engineer Keenan Pinto, have created the Algae Dome, a 13-foot-tall "food-producing architecture pavilion" for growing microalgae—one of the world's fastest-growing photosynthetic organisms. The dome was created for a design competition organized by the CHART Art Fair that was held Sept. 1-3 in Copenhagen. Space10 was among five finalists selected to design the exhibition's pavilions. Launched in April, the competition's brief focused on current issues such as sustainable urbanization, renewable energy, up-cycling, and recycling. The theme of this year’s competition was 'The Living City.'
The Algae Dome features over 1,000 feet of coiled tubing, which houses the green microalgae. Using a photobioreactor system, (a bioreactor that uses light to produce phototropic microorganisms like microalgae) the structure is capable of growing nearly 119 gallons of microalgae in just under three days.
Microalgae can easily replace soybean, which according to the company, is largely used to feed livestock, and is one of the main causes of deforestation. "Besides reducing the cost of using it, perhaps the biggest key to microalgae’s success is showing that it works—and not just in the lab," said the lab in an article on their blog. "Raising awareness about what microalgae is—and what it can do for us—is therefore crucial ... We believe that algae could provide the answer to some of the world’s biggest problems—from malnutrition to climate change."
The competition was judged by a jury panel consisting of Bjarke Ingels, architect and founder of BIG Bjarke Ingels Group; Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, co-founder of Superflex; Débora Mesa, architect and principal of Ensamble Studio; architect Dorte Foss; Simon Frommenwiler, architect and co-founder of HHF Architects; and Claus Andersen, owner of Andersen’s Contemporary.