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The Active Phytoremediation Wall System is a modular system of pods, housing hydroponic plants. Its main purpose is to encourage airflow and contribute to the quality of life through its air cleaning capacities. The project is a result of a collaborative research between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

It is a bio-mechanical hybrid system that produces ‘fresh air’ from within buildings, thereby reducing the energy consumption. Because the plants’ roots are exposed, instead of being buried in soil, the plants’ air-cleaning capacity increases by 200 to 300 percent. The pods themselves are made from vacuum-formed plastic, and the form allows the maximum amount of air to reach the root rhizomes while using the minimum amount of material. It also creates a beautiful base for the plants. The wall system can be installed in large commercial interiors, but works equally well in small settings—a four-module system in an apartment would have the impact of 800 to 1200 house plants.

Researchers: Emily Rae Brayton, Ahu Aydogan

Testbed Site: Public Safety Answering Center II, Bronx, N.Y.

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York—Carl Galioto (technical partner); Gary Haney (design partner); Peter Magill (managing partner); Rob Rothblatt (senior designer); Joseph Sacco (project manager); Carl Brown (technical coordinator); Julie Hiromoto (project team)

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