A Skyscraper That Scrubs The Air Clean

Sitting above a congested highway, this concept building would use algae to deal with the pollution.

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.

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  • Iridemosh

    Hmmm.. looks like the buidings go directly on top of the brand new park and wacker interchange?

  • Field ID Inspection Software

    Buildings that scrub CO2 emissions from the air? What an amazing idea! Especially when the captured CO2 is then converted into biofuels for use in vehicles and thus can be recycled. If this project could be actually put to reality it can potentially be the solution to the worsening air pollution situation we are in today.

  • Hashim Mg

    Renderings - I agree. The building minds minds well be a Junior/Senior level student Concept
    Energy Impact - If the demand for C02 reduction is the main driving force, the space needed might be better suited for an Architectural Piece Overarching Bio-Fuel Powered Toll-Boths or a Concept Bridge with Bio-Fuel Powered lighting. But, a private residential complex with that fuel benefiting only those rent paying residents with Bio-Fuel cars seems ...Well ...disfranchising.

    If a Tax credit is involved both the reduction of C02 and the Bio-Fuel Technology should benefit the people. IN other words, to put it bluntly.. THAT'S OUR CRAP !

  • workforlivn

    We're not this stupid are we? Put a fan in there and forget about it. The biggest factor is left out of the story. What does this cost? What kind of money wasting tax credit does it qualify for?

  • Gael


    Sorry to tell you that this 3d Rendering is really far to look realistic. We do 100% better. Guys, we are in 2012, please do better!