Air pollution is a problem wherever vehicles congregate. Take Chicago’s Congress Parkway Interchange, a major vehicle route that sees 77,000 vehicles zoom through every day. To clear the thick layer of carbon dioxide pollution produced by the vehicles, architects Danny Mui and Benjamin Sahagun have come up with a novel concept: a pair of buildings that scrub CO2 emissions from the air.
Dubbed the CO2ngress Gateway Towers, the crooked buildings are outfitted with a filtration system that feeds captured CO2 to algae grown in the building. The algae is then converted into biofuels for use in vehicles.
Mui and Sahagun explain on the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) website: "The scrubbers are the first step in a process that generates fuel for a fleet of eco-friendly cars for building residents. The system raises public awareness of air pollution and its impact on the health of Chicagoans."
In addition to the scrubbers, the buildings also feature a "double skin facade"—two layers of windows—that can cut down on outside traffic noise. Spaces on either side of the buildings’ central elevator core can be used as outdoor terraces for residents.
Mui and Sahagun, who worked on the CO2ngress Gateway Towers project while students at the Illinois Institute of Technology, received an honorable mention in the 2012 CTBUH student competition for their work. Mui tells us that they worked on the project after the semester ended (the project was for a studio class), but there are no immediate plans to build the structure.