Algae Palms Power House, Prototype 1.0 (QV2 Apartments Retrofit)


  • Michelle Gan
  • Andre Bonnice and Jean-Marie Spencer
  • RMIT University


I propose to redefine domestic life and the notions of comfort – decentralising the system that delivers power from the mines to the lights that shine above us. “Algae Palms Power House” creates a new domestic architecture of participation. It speculates the possibility of engaging residents in the power production by changing routines to fit. This is prototype 1.0, the first of thousands, the start of a new era. It puts retrofits above demolition taking QV2 Apartments, working from its successes and developing system typologies that may be arrayed and adapted to any other home.

Key Features


The city suffocated by dense clouds of smog rests on, frail systems barely withholding what’s above. All a result of carbon-comfort relying on invisibility and the ease of life, so innate to domesticity.
This building is equipped with technology powered by carbon and wastewater our cites have carelessly produced. Through its revealing architecture, through use of its core, apartments and facade, power is produced and returned back to you and your neighbours. For the first time in modern residency, power will be made by the people for themselves. All residents depend mutually on each other for the supply of energy.


“Comfort, a form of self-assurance that we are not threatened, and that tomorrow will be like today.” Every kick and hum of the air conditioner, creak of the radiator is a collective symphony accompanying the decline of civilisation. Architecture has so perfectly framed comfort and luxury around the constructs of carbon consumption.
A new responsibility will breed community co dependence for a stable future. The radicality of this proposal creates a new standard that will influence cultural discourse, future apartment design, a purer atmosphere.


Instructions to power your home:
A letter to the residents:
1. Operate the lift by taking a coconut from the dispenser at your doorstep. Drop that coconut to call the lift up or down.
2. The living room is where the bio diesel process starts, These pipes deliver mature algae and coconut oil ready for the centrifuge, Take a vessel from your wall and attach it, give it one strong push and the motor will run as you go about your day, at home or out. feeling more active? the stationary biked equipped with a centrifuge motor can speed up the process.
3. Take the vessels into your bedroom as you ready yourself for a night’s rest. Your headboard clad in pressed fibres reveal a distillation system. attach the processed vessel, and let it set overnight,
4. Wake, and refresh from a well-deserved rest. Take the distilled vessel to the bathroom to purify through a series of sieves. As you bathe, let the wastewater flow through the drains and into the raceways beneath your feet.
5. Take the vessels into the kitchen and attach it to the generators above you. Prepare your meal on a biomineralized terrazzo counter top that sits in front of a surface adorned with palm leaf lacing while your dining table awaits within an niche dressed in algae linen. Over time, watch as the coconut and algae by products marry and produce bio concrete walls.
And The process repeats……..

Link of lift operation animation:


The sources of energy come from Algae and Coconuts while byproducts of this will be utilised as building material. This is a closed looped system, operable at individual scale, that maximise raw material fully. The system begins through the collection of wastewater and C02 to sustain the raceways where the algae will cultivate. Simultaneously, coconuts are split, milled, and pressed to extract coconut oil. Both algae and coconut solutions can then be filtered into a vessel that will plug into a centrifuge. The vessels then go through a process of distillation and purification. Once the fuel is ready, it can be attached to generators to produce electricity. The byproducts of this process, coconut husks and algae biomass, will then be combined to create building material.
Link to animated energy system:


Facade Mechanisms
A letter to the residents:
Stepping back, you will see the intermingling systems that enabling the cultivation of algae and coconuts.
Algae bio glass columns veil external ducts that deliver mature algae from the rooftop raceways down the building and into your living room. Standing tall and proud above the rooftops are the palms that glow and call change from society.
Incoming trams peer through glowing visions of environmental change. Reflective fins catch sunlight and inflect It into the building as balustrades seize toxifying carbon, to feed the internal systems,. Bio diesel transformers stretch out buzzing monotonously with the familiar hum of power.
A trans formative facade showing views dating 2020, 25 and 30. Watch as the living facade crawls, reaching out to clean more and more of the air, they grow to from a new skin over the current, a visual sign of improvement.
I hope you enjoy your new life, as we leave the building to you. The stability of the future depends on you and your neighbours. I hope you find pleasure in this new chain, one that starts with the less conditioned interiors and extends to a less carbon filled atmosphere. I exit slowly as the glowing beacon shines a possibility of a brighter tomorrow. An ever changing façade, a reminder of our growth as a community. A new wave of change for humanity, I cannot wait to see.

Link to the Growing Facade:

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