Open Access

Transdisciplinary collaboration in architecture: Integrating microalgae biotechnologies for human and non-human perspectives


This article investigates the role of architectural research in addressing the current ecological, geopolitical, and socioeconomic challenges by exploring the potential of symbiotic ecosystems, particularly microorganisms such as microalgae, in architectural and design applications. Microalgae biotechnologies have the potential to offer a wide range of applications in architecture and design, encompassing small-scale objects, living systems on building exteriors, as well as urban and rural scenarios, thereby allowing for systematic research. When using these biotechnologies in architectural designs, it is crucial to consider maintenance requirements, environmental impacts, and the potential for enhancing public spaces and society across various dimensions in both short-term and long-term perspectives, and potential environmental impacts before implementing microalgae-based systems in real-life scenarios. This study describes a collection of interdisciplinary projects and research that involve microbiology, architecture, and design and proposes various experimental scenarios concerning the integration of both human and non-human perspectives. Through collaborative academic efforts, these projects demonstrate the potential for combining microalgae cultivation with architectural applications. The projects include Photosynthetic Landscape, a modular photobioreactor system, Synthesizing/Distancing which addresses coexistence in global epidemics, Biotopia, a permanent interior installation incorporating microalgae, Exchange Instruments, a semi-closed cultivation system, and Cultivated Environment, a small-scale microalgae cultivation apparatus. The article highlights the implication of controlled environments, maintenance, and interdisciplinary cooperation while showcasing the potential for these systems.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Architecture and Design, Architecture, Architects, Buildings, Landscape Architecture, Landscape Architects, Design, Designers, other