Home to 19 million people, Delhi has some of the most polluted air on the planet. With some toxic elements present in excess of 25 times the World Health Organization’s guidelines and with a growing population, new solutions are urgently needed. Studio Symbiosis has begun testing its own speculative project, Aura, as potential new “lungs for the city.”
The centerpiece of the project is the cleaning towers: curving structures ranging from 59- to nearly 200-feet tall that capture polluted air and expel it in purified form. The taller towers would be placed strategically on the outskirts of the city, while the smaller towers would exist at other pollutant “hotspots” identified by the firm. Studio Symbiosis estimates that even at 59-feet tall, the towers could clean as much as 30 million cubic meters of air a day (almost 8 billion gallons).
Taking in air from all sides, the aerodynamic towers would push polluted air through two chambers, the first to increase its velocity and the other to clean the air before exhausting it back out. The casing of the towers would be made from FRP panels with a metal substructure comprised of modular triangular components. Drip irrigation would be integrated to support the greenery growing vertically on all sides and any necessary electric power would come from solar panels on the exterior.
Studio Symbiosis says it conducted studies to find tower forms that were easily constructible and offered minimum resistance over a maximum surface area, inspired by aircraft wings. The design team also proposed that drones could be furthered added and surrounded the structures as part of the overall air detection and purification system. In addition to the towers—which are currently being prototyped—the firm wants to place purification devices on top of cars that use the air velocity generated during driving to clean the air.
“Everyone who has inadvertently become a part of the problem will contribute as being a part of the solution,” said Studio Symbiosis.