Carbon to Rock Option Studio

Basalts, ubiquitous in volcanic areas, have shown a promising potential to store carbon dioxide. Given that human activity has caused our planet irreversible destruction, it is imperative for us to re-examine architecture’s role in fighting climate change. This project is therefore interested in exploring how basalts might be harnessed in geothermal plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The project demonstrates an alternative way which will revolutionise the way we think about geothermal. Settle in Iceland, the proving ground is designed to deploy the following strategies, as a new paradigm for geothermal to play a larger role as the world with lower environmental impact.:

1. Deep drill technology is proposed to harness geothermal energy at hotter temperature. With drill that plunges down towards the center of earth, it taps into hotter steam reservoir that can extract 10 times energy capacity than a typical geothermal well. This dramatically change the outlook for geothermal, since it could be done anywhere by drill deep until reaching the required temperatures and pressures, hence extending the threshold where the plants can be placed.

2. In addition, the discharged CO2 is captured and injected 800m deep into the submarine basalts. Acting like as a black sponge, it is filled with air holes that the CO2 settles in and forms calcite, permanently solidifying the gas into rock as a way to mitigate global warming. Over time, the geomorphic process on a large scale transformed the landscape into a carbon reservoir that stores greenhouse gases in solid form.

3. The materiality of air extend into the tectonic character of the building. Resting at the heart of this infrastructure are the ‘Air Chambers’, with the role of recycling water discharged from the turbine. Acting like a living architecture, these chambers expand and contract - dramatizing shift in response to varying temperature condition, visualizing the condensation process happening in the building. The multiple temporalities of air are brought into play, where the choreography of air membranes enable different spatial arrangement according to the time of the day.