The hanging gardens of Boston: empty building could become biofarm

An architect’s firm has proposed that the old Filene’s Basement store in Boston be covered with a vertical garden and algae farm.

The site has been redundant since the store went bankrupt. The idea is that it could be put to good use while the owners and the city work out what to do with it.

Howeler Yoon Architecure’s Eco‐Pod, created with design company Squared Design, is a temporary vertical algae bio‐reactor, built with custom prefabricated modules. The farming goes on within the pods, using LED lighting to regulate the algae growth cycles. Meanwhile, the spaces between the pods can be used for planting to create a vertical garden.

In fact, the firm is suggesting that the pods could be used more or less anywhere buildings are temporarily vacant. The modular design means they can be configured in various different ways.

An on‐site robotic armature – powered by the algae bio‐fuel – is designed to reconfigure the modules to maximize algae growth and to accommodate changes in conditions. Once the developers work out what to do with a site, the pods can be removed and shifted elsewhere.