Urban Space Station

About This Project

The Urban Space Station (U.S.S.) is an advanced greenhouse that can alter urban buildings to produce food and oxygen enriched air while filtering human waste and carbon dioxide. Its objective is to enhance life quality (air, water, temperature, food, waste, social cohesion…) in cities and in outer space mission by complementing human existence with fauna and flora.

Originally designed by Natalie Jeremijenko and architect Angel Borrego Cubero of the Office for Strategic Spaces (OSS), the first prototype (at -40% scale) of the Urban Space Station exhibited in July of 2008 at Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. See video above from environmentalist/inventor/entrepreneur Cesar Harada about this installation.

The international 50k-long exhibition trail, Emscherkunst 2016, features Jeremijenko’s U.S.S. in the Emscher valley, resembling a parasite lodged onto the roof of a passage-building among the Swan Complex at the densely populated Lake Phoenix. Rather, it acts symbiotically with the structures; the USS docks onto the air conditioning system, cleaning the circulated air with plants before oxygen is led back into the building.


In A Catalog of Resistance, Sandra al Rishani blogged about the project in 2009:

Redesigning urban socio-ecological systems means dealing with the dense array of competing interests. The prototype recognizes and addresses such problems as constrained zoning requirements, and “prohibitive construction and maintenance costs that are dominated by tremendous human capital costs” and states in opposition that the energy cost in demolition, site clearance and rebuilding any (or many) of these structures costs almost 3 times as rehabilitating these.

The installation and study bases its research on the knowledge that “the world largest cities while occupying only 2% of the surface area account for 75% of the worlds carbon emission; by 2008, for the first time, more than half of the globe’s population will reside in urban contexts” . yet density, vertical population stacking coupled with mass transit is the most carbon-efficient lifestyles. “New Yorkers, produce 71 percent less carbon dioxide per capita than the average American placing the need to continue improving this type of dwelling within a complex socio-ecological realm, is worth exploring”.

Therefore the USS Interprise purpose is described as a product “to reimagine and reengineer our relationship to the urban ecological systems, now; to demonstrate, promote and advance closed and coupled system design for major improvements in resources cycling (a principle that can be widely applied if it can be concretely communicated to nonengineers); to produce a glamorous highly functional new space / facility that will seize, excite and engage the public ; to exploit the environmental services and functionality of vegetation and engineering microlandscapes; to provide and maximize habitat and nutritional resources for nonhuman organism with whom we increasingly share urban space (including small mammals, birds; insects; soil microbes; and aerobiology); to facilitate urban agriculture and beyond: to facilitate our productive interdependence with diverse organisms (beyond instrumental calorie production); and, perhaps, most critically, to invite and maximize the participation and potential of a new generations of human capital for hands-on engagement with redesigning our urban environmental systems.”

USS is designed as a closed approach of a space station for an urban agriculture facility for urban roof systems with an open green roof. it is designed to address the structural constraints of a roof space with specific focus on loads coupled with the use of HVAC CO2 enriched output air and capturing more radiative heat energy. Its form is designed to to maximize radiative heat and internal thermal distribution etc. in addition the space station can generate its own energy plus provide a surplus of energy to the building.

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urban space station, uss