Strip malls are in trouble across North America as the economy tightens and people aren't filling their new houses with junk any more. Even when they were busy, they were not exactly the most efficient use of resources. Late last year the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) invited architects to determine what ideas they had for urban farming, live/work, revitalization of strip malls in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe. MOS architects of New Haven, Connecticut of all places, took first prize with its Urban Battery that charges us up with wind and solar power combined with a vertical algae farm.
"A 300' by 300' lightweight structure supports a series of thin glass channels housing a net- work of pipes, tubes, and algae to produce ï¬ltered, clean air and gases for biofuel. A system of wind turbines generates electricity supporting the activities of the strip mall and the surrounding neighborhood. It dispenses electricity through wind turbines, breezes and healthy air offsetting the effects of Scottsdale Road and the parking. Of the elements inserted into the site includes a newly created bike and walking path connecting into a larger infrastructure for exercise. "
"In terms of zoning, Urban Battery is a physical structure similar to a power station, vertical greenhouse, and a billboard, all rolled into one. It doesn't fit into the zoning chart. We believe that Scottsdale zoning is open enough to accommodate the programmatic innovation, even though this proposal is beyond the original intention of the competition. "
"Urban Battery acts as an energy producer, filtering air, housing oxygen regenerating plants, providing bike paths, public gardens within the structure, and stores bioproducts. It also includes an additional building for community events that is attached at the base of the structure. This additional program could be for either teens or seniors dedicated to expanding activities from the neighborhood and accessible through a new bike and walking path, converting the alley into part of an urban infrastructure." Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art via Bustler
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