If we look at the earth as a territory devoted to life it would appear as an enclosed space, delimited by the boundaries of living systems [the biosphere]. In other words it would appear as a garden.

Clement, Gilles

 :the etymology of the word garden comes from the German Garten, whose original meaning is enclosed or bounded space, in Latin “HORTUS conclusus”.

 

H.O.R.T.U.S

Hydro. Organisms. Responsive. To. Urban. Stimuli

AA Front Members Room

13th of January 2011 -11th of February 2011

H.O.R.T.U.S, a new exhibition from ecoLogicStudio designed for the AA Front Members Room, engages the notions of urban renewable energy and agriculture through a new gardening prototype; the proto-garden host micro and macro-algal organisms as well as bioluminescent bacteria; fitted with ambient light sensing technologies and a custom designed virtual interface, H.O.R.T.U.S stimulates the emergence of novel material practices and related spatial narratives.

Flows of Energy [light radiation], Matter[biomass, CO2] and Information [images, tweets, stats] are triggered during the 4 weeks long growing period, inducing multiple mechanisms of self-regulation and evolving novel forms of self-organisation.

H.O.R.T.U.S proposes an experimental “hands on” engagement with these notions, illustrating their potential applicability to the masterplanning of large regional landscapes and the retro-fitting of industrial and rural architectural types, as exemplified in the project “Regional Algae Farm”developed by ecoLogicStudio for the Swedish region of Osterlen.

Visitors, AA students and staff are invited to engage daily with H.O.R.T.U.S inventing new protocols of urban bio-gardening; the biologic diversity within H.O.R.T.U.S is provided by lakes and ponds within Central London; as algal organisms require CO2 to grow visitors are invited to contribute by blowing air inside the various containers [photo-bioreactors] as well as adjust their nutrients’ content; oxygen is released as a result, feeding the other organisms in the “briccole” [bioluminescent bacteria] and in the room.

Information flowing daily  through H.O.R.T.U.S feeds its emergent virtual garden, accessible via smart phones; its virtual plots are nurtured by the flow of observations posted by each visitor, locally and globally, by lighting levels data streams and by human interaction in real-time. Such virtual organism offers the opportunity for capturing and sedimenting information and cultivation practices, enriching the material experience of the visitor turned urban “cyber-gardener”.

H.O.R.T.U.S Statistics:
Overall dimension of the garden: 7x5x4m
Number of photo-Bioreactors: 330 bags + 30 “briccole”
Biomass yield: approx. 20Kg per week
Wide spectrum lights:9x1ml
Oxygenating flow: 3 pumps 8W 550 l/h each
Sensing apparatus: 20 light sensors + 20 LED lights + 5 Arduino boards
Interacting apparatus: QRcoded photo-bioreactors +web interface

 

H.O.R.T.U.S _ Roundtable discussion and harvest night

AA Lecture Hall – AA Front Members Room

5pm, 24th of January 2011

H.O.R.T.U.S, a new exhibition from ecoLogicStudio designed for the AA Front Members Room, engages the notions of urban renewable energy and agriculture through a new gardening prototype; the proto-garden hosts micro and macro-algal organisms as well as bioluminescent bacteria; fitted with ambient light sensing technologies and a custom designed virtual interface,

H.O.R.T.U.S stimulates the emergence of novel material practices and related spatial narratives. In this accompanying event Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto will discuss with a pool of selected guest the design philosophy of the project and its relevance for contemporary architecture and urban design; the event will be structured around three moments, two conversations and an hands-on harvest event, which will see the public engaging directly with the garden:

_conversation One: HORTUS ‘How To ‘will present the philosophy of the project, the design&make of the prototype installation and the potential applicability of these emergent material and spatial protocols to the master-planning of large regional landscapes. The conversation will unveil the details of the biological mechanisms at work, as well as the algorithmic design technique employed, the sensing and actuating devices and innovative digital interfaces embedded in the gardening apparatus
_converastion Two: ’Systemic Design as Critical Practise’ will involve critical thinkers and designers, discussing how systemic design practises can acquire critical role in shaping a new notion of urban ecology within the contemporary architectural discourse.

The evening will end with “the harvest”; a hands-on event curated by the students of AA INTER10 where saturated photo-bioreactors will be harvested and the
content used to extract bio-oil, cook super-snacks and weave biologic fabrics.

Schedule:
5pm- Introduction
5.15pm- H.O.R.T.U.S ‘How To’
Marco Poletto & Claudia Pasquero                                                                           With: Andrea Bugli, Simon Park, Mats Broden, Immanuel Koh

6.15pm- ‘Systemic Design as Critical Practice’
Moderator Lucy Bullivant with:
Claudia Pasquero
Marco Poletto
Alisa Andrasek
Alex Haw
*******
7.30pm- the Harvest
[Front Members Room and AA BAR]
Curated by AA INTER10 students
Practice1:bio-OIL extraction
Practice2: cooking super-snacks
Practice3: weaving bio-fabrics

CREDITS:
ecoLogicStudio team:
Claudia Pasquero, Marco Poletto
With: Andrea Bugli, Mirco Bianchini, Philippos Philippidis
With the support of:
Catherine Legrand
[Evolution Biology]
Simon Park
[Bioluminescence]
Scottish Marine Institute
[algal biodiversity]
Mats Broden
[Knowledge sharing]
Immanuel Koh
[digital interfaces]
Special thanks to:
David Crooks [Fluid Structures]
AA digital platforms
AA exhibition
AA prototyping LAB
AA INTER10 students
AA Exhibitions: Vanessa Norwood, Lee
Regan and Luke Currall