Post-Anthropocene Air

Tam Sin Yu
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Project idea

Our Earth has entered Anthropocene since human activities affect the ecosystem and climate after industrialization, which led to the sudden dramatic increase of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Dealing with the landfill gas in Tuen Mun Landfill in Hong Kong and the smog from the Pearl River Delta Region, my project is proposed to purify the toxic gas generated in the site and flowed through the area, to a monitorable condition, so as to create a visionary pollutant-free landscape along the slope of our studio’s Plastic Park.

Project description

The experience of air filtering will be divided in 2 parts: (a) the uphill path surrounding by natural trees; (b) the artificial zone on top of the hill. To organise a micro-climate above a stone platform with opening to the reedbed pond, the building loop leads visitors to go through a conditioned journey through the walled garden, which is a historic strategy to create a varying but stable environment for species protection. The journey is demonstrated by five air-filter pavilions (wider sections) with sensory activities surprising visitors around the corner, where the beauty of music will be discovered through wind harp and the formation of carbon dioxide can be touched, etc. Rainwater is captured through the sandwich timber facade and used as water cooling for the blocks. The layers of plastic resin inside the building envelope that act as filter to clean directed air to flow inside the air-conditioning zones and emit to the surroundings through the opening on building surfaces. The view from the main space in each pavilions also encourage meditation among visitors under a clean sky for a vision of the future.

Technical information

A scientist, Klaus Lackner, in Center for Negative Carbon Emissions
invented a carbon dioxide capture machine that inspired me of combining environmental strategy with architecture, as well as integrating the knowledge of the conventional HVAC system in my project design.
The air-filtering wall works as the following:
Dirty air is driven to the pipes in the pond and fan forces air upwards for filtering. Sandwich timber panel with tung oil for fungi prevention is insulated by recycled plastic bottles. Another sandwich layer that holds the plastic resin is ready for carbon dioxide capturing. The timber wall supports the glass panel to let sun heat up the air inside, while rainwater is collected through rooftop water tank. Water is released through movable trap when the concentration of carbon dioxide reaches the maximum; the filter can be reused. The conditioned air is trapped and released downwards once it is cool. Clean air is experienced by the people inside the walled garden and emphasized through five sensory pavilions. Storey difference creates different spatial qualities and air conditions. The expelled air from people rises to the roof to get into the filter walls again to complete the cycle of air.