With the world increasingly turning to renewable energy, the brilliant minds at RAW-NYC Architects are working towards a future, where an entire city will be powered sustainably with the help of algae. The proposal, which recently won an international design competition, envisions Liberland as the world’s first sovereign nation to run entirely on algae-derived energy.
Located along the western bank of Danube River between Serbia and Croatia, this 2.7-square-mile (approx. 7-square-kilometers) area is the newest self-proclaimed sovereign state in the European continent. Given its minuscule size, the micronation poses a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to proper land use and urban planning. To accommodate the region’s growing populace, the team at RAW-NYC has come up with an ingenious vertical city design.
Dubbed as Inverted Archaeology, the plan presents Liberland as a verdant city-state, featuring an innovative pedestrian-friendly design. Instead of horizontal structures, the area will house stackable mixed-use layers to give rise to a compact, dense and self-sufficient urban fabric. In order to ensure optimum site efficiency and low greenhouse gas emissions in such a dense environment, the architects have devised an intelligent way to power the city’s various operations: algal strains that can grow even in the absence of sunlight.
As the team points out, the algae, which would grow on the roofs and exterior of buildings, will in turn provide clean, usable energy. The design, according to the developers, is intended to facilitate innovation, allowing citizens of all race, gender, age and ethnicity to live their lives freely and independently. Speaking about the proposal, Raya Ani, the leader of the team, said:
The team makeup and the design process was quite interesting and challenging at the same time. To bring people together from different backgrounds substantiated our ideas and enriched the design process… The main vision was to balance density with quality of life. We wanted to address density differently than defaulting to skyscrapers, where connections between buildings occur only on the ground level. We wanted the city to be built one horizontal layer at a time, where it’s possible to walk everywhere and everything is connected. The horizontal layers are stacked in a staggered configuration to ensure natural light penetrates all of them.
Vít Jedlička, the president of Liberland, has revealed that the government is currently trying to gauge the feasibility of the algae-powered vertical city plan for the city-state. One of the major focuses of the proposal is sustainability. In addition to algae-derived energy, the buildings will possess an array of eco-friendly features, including solar panels, tree-covered green roofs as well as rainwater harvesting. Waste of all kinds, human, organic, industrial and agricultural, will be recycled and turned into biofuel. Despite its tiny size, the country will boast ample roof-mounted gardens and even floodable public parks. Jedlička added:
We are blessed to have such great minds involved in creating Liberland. The winning design concepts show that the country can become a prosperous habitable area using [the] latest innovations in green technology to remain mostly self-sufficient. We will further study upon the 1st place project to see if and how exactly it could be introduced in reality. When that’s possible, we want to launch a virtual 3D landscape with building models to help people choose a place to live or to invest in. I congratulate all selected participants for their clever ideas representing the freedom Liberland stands for.