Algae-Cellunoi / marcosanmarjan @ FRAC Centre's ARCHILAB

Zack Saunders of ARCH[or]studio was pleased to have the opportunity to assist with the fabrication of this exquisite work by marcosandmarjan! On view at the FRAC Centre thru 02.02.2014.

The installation is an ornamental wall structure for external use composed of numerous cellular components that work as a scaffold for algae to grow. 

The patterns have multiple patterns with gaps and crevices that aim for a gradual involvement of nature in its three-dimensional surface. The wall is made out of foam which is a quintessential insulation material. What is usually hidden in external walls is here turned inside out and exposed as an ornate thick surface.Each cellular component is seeded with terrestrial algae that grows in the ridges of the variable patterns.

The selected algae strains are Neochloris texensis - a soil based algae of the Neochloris genus and Trentepohlia - a filamentous green chlorophyte algae traditionally living on tree trunks, rocks or housing facades. The filaments of Trentepohlia have a strong orange colour caused by large quantities of carotenoid pigments which mask the green of the chlorophyll.

Particular to this fast growing algae is that they live symbiotically in lichens which grow much slower, but ultimately create an enduring natural outer protection for the insulation wall. Each cellular component is also designed to host a variety of flasks in which liquid algae can grow for ground fertilization or simply to help creating a varied ecology of natural elements on the wall.

Project team:
Design team: marcosandmarjan with Guan Lee and Richard Beckett
Fabrication: Grymsdyke Farm; DMC London
Algae Technology: Marin Sawa with Nixon Group and Hellgardt Group (Imperial College); Richard Beckett (UCL)
Sponsors: Bartlett School of Architecture; Grymsdyke Farm; Innsbruck University

Completed/ Wall installation at 9th ARCHILAB - Naturalizing Architecture, Orleans France. Location: FRAC Centre, Orleans. Duration: 14.09.2013 - 02.02.2014.

          All images Copyright marcosandmarjan and Guan Lee, with Richard Beckett.