Beijing Bubbling Towards A Smog-Free
Beijing smog alert! Recently raised to Level Orange – the alert system’s second highest smog threat category (levels consisting of blue, yellow, orange and red) which can lead to outdoor sports class cancellations and transport usage restrictions, highlights the shocking air quality crisis in China’s capital city. Citizens have been advised to stay indoors and to wear face masks if they do have to go out. This is the first time the pollution level has reached the smog alert system’s second worst threat level, and is a direct consequence of the notorious combination of coal burning power plants and the excessive number of cars on Beijing’s roads.
Levels of PM2.5 – tiny pollutant particles in Beijing’s atmosphere have been recorded as standing at 400 micrograms per cubic metre. The acceptable limit is 25 micrograms per cubic metre.
Park in a Bubble
Orproject – a London-based, British architecture and design company have a dedicated team working on the innovative idea of a dome-covered botanical garden which would be large enough to also enclose offices, shops and residential buildings.
The Bubble as it is known, would be helpful to those living with environmental pollution, and although it is not an alternative to finding ways to control pollution destroying the environment, it would offer a safe haven; a clean-air environment in a dangerously polluted city.
Costing in the region of £400/square metre the bubbles would be constructed with the same material as has been used in the Eden project (Cornwall, UK) inside the biomes panels. As it would not be designed using glass the structure would be much lighter and consequently far more cost effective. Highly heat resistant this stretchy plastic – a polymer known as ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) also has the potential to reduce energy costs and has already been tried and tested at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, both at the Aquatics Center and the Birds’ Nest National Stadium.
An interesting idea is the dome’s roof which the designers would craft by combining technology with nature, using a computer algorithm with the ability to initiate and grow roof-top patterns such as those on butterfly wings and on leaves…
Structural surface solar panels would provide electric for the clean-air bubble and humidity and temperature would be controlled internally. By necessity the bubble would be airtight therefore the air pumped into the proposed park and the buildings contained within it would have to be filtered beforehand.