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Brief Published: 26 Jul 2021

Meet the First Playground to Purify Air with Algae


Did you know that 93% of global children breathe polluted air while they play? In response, London-based architecture firm EcoLogicStudio has created AirBubble – the world’s first biotechnological playground that integrates air-purifying micro-algae into its design.

Situated in Warsaw, Poland, one of the most polluted countries in Europe, the project combines biotechnology, science and architecture to address one of the most dangerous health problems – air pollution.

Airbubble’s cylindrical timber structure is wrapped in ETFE membranes, protecting 52 glass algae reactors to create a functional algae greenhouse. The living green chlorella algae cultures can filter polluted air up to 200 litres per minute. This purifying process is powered by solar energy and kinetic energy from children playing on bouncy spheres, foot pumps and swimming ropes inside.

The AirBubble integrates with urban air pollution sensors, which monitor the air quality index in real-time. Early data collected in May 2021 shows that the AirBubble reduces air pollution – at its peak – by 83%, which falls well within the recommended WHO limits. The playground can therefore be repurposed as a safe outdoor classroom for kids while the white noise produced by the algae gardening system shields children from the surrounding urban noise, creating a calm playtime and learning atmosphere.

Marco Poletto, co-founder of EcoLogicStudio, explains “there is untapped value in bringing the bio-intelligence of natural systems into cities, turning buildings into living machines that produce energy, store carbon dioxide, and clean the air.”

For more sustainable innovation in cities, look out for Surveying the Smart Sustainable City (publishing July 29), Materials for Future Cities, and Eco Urbanites. For initiatives tackling air pollution, see The Brief