The city of Madrid plans to add a striking new structure that will “climatically transform” its urban architecture. Designed by Urban Ecosystems, the Air Tree pavilion is to be built from recycled materials and will be 100% energy selfsufficient. Using photovoltaic cells, the Air Tree produces a substantial amount of energy, which is then sold back to the local electric companies, the profits being used for maintenance of the structure. The second byproduct is of course oxygen – hence the name „Air Tree‟! Furthermore, the structure, made from lightweight recycled materials, can be easily disassembled and moved to another site when needed. This feature makes the entire idea really intruding because dozens of air trees can be installed in cities around major metropolitan areas during summers. The trees will cool the surrounding environments and as a bonus generate clean electricity.
Ecoboulevard is shaped around recycled gasworks, allowing the project to grow from repurposed industrial materials. The “air trees” share the service of pavilion, what the designers call a “social revitalizing” space. These centers have, by way of the rooting vegetation, a cooling effect on the urban environment. The open structures can also facilitate social gatherings that require electricity – each “air tree” is equipped with solar photovoltaic to meet on-site energy needs. The architects have gone beyond the obvious benefits of reusing materials and have considered a growing urban landscape. When the plants are established, the remains of industry can be disassembled and removed, leaving behind a flourishing greenway. This aspect, what the AR Award jury referred to as “the idea that a temporary structure could make a long-term proposition about the way a city streetscape might adapt in the context of ever-hotter urban environments,” is one of the most impressive facets of the project. On its top pick this year, AR calls the Ecoboulevard “an urban intervention as delightful as it is functional.”