Hamtramck (Detroit Area), Michigan
Thomas Fowler IV
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
The Hamtramck Algae Farm is a community-owned algae-harvesting center and research lab located at the site of an abandoned parking lot in Hamtramck, Michigan (a small, economically-depressed township located within the Detroit area; well-known for being one of the only majority-Muslim towns in the US). The algae farm is intended as an economic impetus for the area – achieved by harvesting algae in ETFE bags in its facade and converting it to biomass to be used as a potential (cleaner-burning) energy source, as well as cooking oils and other experimental products which show promise. The project’s form is driven by the common conception of algae as a dirty, unwanted waste product. This concept is mirrored in the algae farm by a triangulating, tesselated “virus” that latches unto the building and ruptures its facade on each face. Interior walls deform to accommodate this disruption, and the internal organization is driven by the centrality of the CO2 capture tank and a circulatory apparatus that connects diagonally and across the building to connect to different points of interest within the building.