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Tree lined Eco Boulevard
January 25, 2008 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Madrid's "Air Tree" is a working experiment in combining public spaces with energy generation.
posted by Burhanistan (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
It took me a while to unravel what this really is, mainly a stacked tree farm with a solar array on top. I don't mean to diminish the creative work that went into this project, but why not just plant trees normally into a park? Is doing this vertically really going make that much of a difference? It's rather ugly.
posted by furtive at 11:06 AM on January 25, 2008


So, am I understanding this correctly? It's a mechanical device which a) produces solar energy which can be sold, and b) converts CO2 to O2 in the way that a tree does? If so, cool!
posted by everichon at 11:06 AM on January 25, 2008


So, the means of converting gases is to use a bunch of trees? Not snarking, I just want to fully grok.
posted by everichon at 11:08 AM on January 25, 2008


Yeah, I don't get it either. So it's supposed to fall apart over time and be replaced by trees? Or something?

Remember in "Doublemeat Palace" when Buffy kept asking what was in the burgers, and everyone just said "it's a meat process" without ever explaining what that means? This seems sort of like that.
posted by hifiparasol at 11:13 AM on January 25, 2008


I like the natural air conditioning. How does that work? I don't know.
posted by Mister_A at 11:17 AM on January 25, 2008


It is a mystery!
posted by everichon at 11:20 AM on January 25, 2008


That's pretty cool looking. It took me a while to figure out what exactly it was, but I'd say conceptually it's pretty cool as well.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on January 25, 2008


It looks like a panopticon prison for trees. I'm sorry, but I find it terribly depressing. And a traditional park full of trees would provide just the same "natural air conditioning." Add me to those who don't get it.
posted by IcyJuly at 11:24 AM on January 25, 2008


Perhaps that animation would make more sense if we were all stoned.
posted by LordSludge at 11:29 AM on January 25, 2008


It's a pavillion with solar cells that will eventually become a clearing in the trees. Is that about it? Why not make a pavillion that will remain and continue to collect solar energy?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:36 AM on January 25, 2008


I think the idea is they are creating these spaces, Air Trees, in the parks while the other trees are growing. In the article they mention how over time the surrounding areas will fill in with trees / park space, and what was the green space (these trees) become the empty space surrounded by forest.

So they are getting the effect of having an old growth tree park while the new trees they planted are growing, and then by the time the new trees are old, the pavilion and space for the air trees becomes the open section.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:38 AM on January 25, 2008


mrzarquon has it. It's more concept art than public planning, but it's interesting to see what people come with when tasked with a design. More things like this mean more potential options for planners and architects of "real" projects.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:07 PM on January 25, 2008


Probably best to think of it as a large scale public artwork.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on January 25, 2008


I like the natural air conditioning. How does that work? I don't know.

It looks like they have an elevated cylinder or chimney lined w/ young trees creating a zone of transpiration above the pavilion. With a bunch of rapidly growing plants there is going to be water evaporating out into the center of the chimney and the resulting colder air falling down the chimney and spilling out into the sunken little amphitheater pit, effectively lowering the air temperature in the area immediately at the base of the cylinder. That's my guess on how it works. Somebody smarter than me can tell me if I'm correct or not. Brilliant if it works as advertised.
posted by well_balanced at 3:11 PM on January 25, 2008


I think it is using smaller plants inside the air tree also. I think maybe the idea of the vertical space is all these plants would be outputting oxygen and the convection or maybe fans (which would explain the electricity need) would push this fresh cooler air down. The higher use of a vertical space would enhance the effect to all the people sitting around the outside of it. Another argument for the vertical as mentioned earlier and in the article is that regular trees can be grown while this is serving it's purpose until the rest of the park is populated. I guess it kind of makes sense to me though I could have interpreted the vague description wrong. I like it if that is what it is.
posted by Phantomx at 3:11 PM on January 25, 2008


It took me awhile to figure this out too, but from the concept drawings, as the trees got large enough they were planted, and the space expanded. Kind of like a forest... Pretty cool, and a cool art project as well.
posted by Eekacat at 5:49 PM on January 25, 2008


Frankly, colour me unimpressed. Madrid and its suburbs (which means anything in a radius of about 100 kilometers) has been the location of some of the most egregiously unsustainable urban planning (or rather, lack thereof) in Europe, combined with an explosive growth rate, a building industry running amok and a (recently burst) crazy real estate bubble which reached yearly price increases over 20%.

Putting a few trees in a cage and planting PV panels on top of it strikes one as the equivalent of rearranging, not the deck chairs, but the table napkins on the Titanic.
posted by Skeptic at 5:03 AM on January 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sexy. I like it. Mucho.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:41 AM on January 26, 2008


Why do these types of projects seem never to have anyone available who can accurately explain what the hell they do? Why is it shrouded in mystery?

It might be a good idea, if it's actually a space-efficient (in horizontal terms) nursery for trees that will be transplanted to the surrounding area. Who can tell, though, from the site?

It might be a really dumb idea if it's a large tube with solar-powered fans at the top designed to pull cooler air down to the ground. Who knows!?
posted by odinsdream at 7:42 AM on January 26, 2008


/me is on hydrocodone.
posted by odinsdream at 7:43 AM on January 26, 2008


hmmm...my next good reason to cross the border and go to Madrid... thanks !
posted by nicolin at 1:29 AM on January 27, 2008


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