• Aerial rendering of Spirabilis v1, a synthetic landscape comprised of both artificial and natural systems.

  • Interior rendering of a typical dome cluster.

  • Photo montage of Spirabilis v1 rooftop application.

  • Exploded axonometric of various building and land management systems.

  • Axonometric diagram of resource collection, distribution, and storage systems.

Spirabilis v1


Architectural Proposal


Speculative proposal commissioned for the exhibition EcoRedux 2 at the Design Museum in Barcelona and further developed for the exhibition Elsewhere Envisioned at the Gallatin Labowitz Gallery at New York University.

Project Description

“Do you know, my friends, that a curious establishment might be founded with rooms of oxygen, where people whose system is weakened could for a few hours live a more active life. Fancy parties where the room was saturated with this heroic fluid, theaters where it should be kept at high pressure; what passion in the souls of the actors and spectators! What fire, what enthusiasm!!”  Jules Verne, Around the Moon

pneumastudio’s inspiration for Spirabilis is Diogenes of Apollonia, ca. 5 B.C. who believed air to be the source of all being, the primal force that composed both intelligence and the soul. Nature in the constructed environment can be a bit of a sacred cow tethered to trees, shrubs, and the rolling hill.  Rather than “naturalize” the artificial, Spirabilis celebrates artificiality while harnessing the elemental means of sustaining life in a total ecological living system.

Spirabilis utilizes NASA research on closed ecological life support systems to inform the design and development of an environmentally sealed building complex, located on a remote site in Antarctica that relies on algae-harvesting technology to produce oxygen for the building’s inhabitants. Each of the building’s oxygen farms, a small forest of algae tubes suspended within a large-scale greenhouse enclosure, or “phytotron,” provides clean air to the building’s inhabitants through micro-controlled output valves. Additionally, these suspended forests of algae tubes also function as giant chandeliers, providing the phytotrons with indirect lighting at night and producing a variety of compelling visual, formal, and spatial effects. In this respect, the laws of nature are newly shaped, complemented, and extended with technology for aesthetic as well as instrumental purposes.


Project Credits



Architectural Proposal

pneumastudio: Cathryn Dwyre and Chris Perry

Design Team: Cathryn Dwyre, Chris Perry, Justin Snider, Dave Mulder