Culture Urbaine: Co-habitation of the Urban and the Natural

Civic Architects | The Cloud Collective

Architects: The Cloud Collective
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Photography: O.Arandel and The Cloud Collective

For the garden festival Genève: Villes et Champs, The Cloud Collective was selected to execute one of the 13 gardens for the summer of 2014. The festival focuses on the co-habitation of the urban and the natural within the context of the urban expansion of Geneva. The site of this installation, a viaduct over a small highway, is particularly violent and quite out-of-tune with the idea of the garden as a peaceful natural haven. Instead, the project focusses on the character of the site and tries to prove that even these locations of highways and car dealers – despite their anonymous and generic character – can play an important role in the production of food and biomass.

A closed system of transparent tubes, clinging onto the viaduct is used for the production of algae, which grow exclusively on sunlight and CO2, both abundantly present on the site. These algae can be used to filter air, as combustible biomass or even as raw material for different cosmetic and alimentary products. A steel structure, supporting all the secondary equipment such as pumps, filters and solar panels, functions as a marker for the quickly passing traffic and provides explanations on a more detailed level for pedestrians and cyclists.

The functioning and the placement of this bioreactor signals practices of the future: food production in an urban environment, the conservation of green space and the reinterpretation of existing infrastructures.


Lgem Algae Production System, Voorhout (NL)
RLM Benelux BV, Biezum (NL)
In-Tech métallerie, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (FR)
Richard & fils, échafaudages. Vevey (CH)
Portier enseignes. Passy (FR)