The Looper aspires to be the first floating greenhouse whose purpose is to reverse the harmful effects of excessive nitrogen and phosphorus runoff, as well as increased bacteria and mercury levels, on our nation’s waterways. The Looper challenges the idea of a greenhouse and leverages one very simple concept: the growing of plants inherently cleans an ecosystem. To do this, The Looper repurposes an existing river barge into a greenhouse which collects, uses, filters, and returns water along the Snohomish River in a remediated state – a loop. At the heart of the vessel is a “living machine” that distributes filtered river water to an aquaponics system growing both plants and fish, ultimately returning clean water to the rivers it travels. As the greenhouse barge moves along the river, it is able to restore water and habitat, serve multiple communities with access to fresh produce, and act as a floating classroom for an ecologically abundant future.
Architect: Keith Campbell
Country: United States
The physical form of the Looper has been optimized to maximize solar heat gain and minimize nighttime heat loss for the most sustainable greenhouse processes. The highly efficient building enables the living machine to filter approximately 220,000 gallons of river water per year.
The Looper promotes community interaction, negates the need for parking and other forms of surface disruption, and improves access to nature through the very fact that it is a floating greenhouse and educational space. As users engage the living machine and see how the movement of waste and water through ecosystems is a natural way to promote environmental health, it encourages better habits and commitment to stewardship beyond the greenhouse and into the community. The Looper provides communities with access to fresh organic produce and plants as well as allows them to understand the importance of food security for everyone by providing a space to participate, share, and foster relationships.
As an idea, the Looper is scalable to other sites and locations. Waterways across the country are in similar conditions and the idea of a floating remediation education center could be applied throughout. Each Looper could be customized to its locale in terms of culture, technology, and specific program. Every living machine needs to be precisely designed for the amount of water, type, and extent of pollution to achieve its maximum working potential. Due to its mobility, the Looper is able to create and strengthen the link between separate communities by forming a common element and enabling the cross-pollination of citizen stewards, volunteers, and school interaction. Through form optimization, repurposed materials, and an enlightened attitude towards material selection, The Looper results in an 85% energy use reduction as compared to a baseline model.