This installation consists of a large decorative canopy structure and biotechnological apparatus – an Alga(e)zebo. It intertwines human artifice with natural surroundings in three distinct ways that grow in scale and effect. The vertical columns incorporate photo-bioreactors containing algae that grows and mutates when invaded by local species. The ornamental multifaceted patterns emulate an inverted tree silhouette, acting as a scaffold or pergola for smaller vegetation to grow into, and creating dynamic effects of light and shadows. The irregular outline of the gazebo allows for trees or taller bushes to grow in between the structure and functions as a communal seating facility for visitors to gather and view the environment.
The project aims to incorporate fundamental structural attributes of biological systems into a complex steel construction. Alga(e)zebo innovates with its structurally sound double-curved geometry, allowing for deep cantilevered spans manufactured from cold-formed, perforated and welded 8mm recycled Carten steel panels. Realizing the project required close developmental collaboration with international teams of structural engineers and fabricators and experimental research scientists. The structure was designed through a sustained process of testing and remodelling up to and beyond production using bespoke software, digital and analogue manufacturing processes, and the reshaping of its tectonic form by organic biological processes over the course of its two-month installation.
Alga(e)zebo was commissioned as part of the Greater London Authority's Wonder series of architectural installations for the 2012 London Olympic celebrations and was installed at Euston Square Gardens.