The goal of this project was to provide an economic argument for maintaining public green space in neighborhoods facing rapid development. The building provides a service in the form of carbon capture: organic waste that would otherwise enter the municipal waste stream and pass CO2 into the atmosphere is instead channeled into distributed centers such as these, where it is fed into a pyrolysis kiln. Here the biomass is processed into biochar. The biochar can then be used as a soil amendment across city parks and farming initiatives, and the bank benefits by translating the offsets into carbon credits which can be exchanged locally or on the global market. The profit is then reinvested in maintaining the site as a public park.
The carbon bank tucks this processing underneath the site, while an extensive green roof and pathway make the site accessible for public enjoyment. Trucks carrying biomass and biochar can enter on either side of the block, and dip down to a collection point at the center of the building before passing through to the south. Further below there is a technical processing area where operators would manage the kilns, and floating above these spaces would be a small public interface where visitors could view the process.
Professor Christoph Kumpusch, Columbia GSAPP 2015.