Celestial Colony

Jonathan Rankin, Hugh Patton, Jonathan Visgaitis, Gerald Hopper, & Julien Remi Nguyen

Celestial Colony is a water filter that treats wastewater by pumping it through “algae facets” in a geodesic dome, which filters out nutrients from the water and carbon dioxide from the air. Once the algae has collected the nutrients, it can be used as fertilizer to grow plants within the dome, while the treated water can be reused as greywater or further filtered into potable water.


Brian Peters is an Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at Kent State University. His research and teaching are focused in the fields of digital fabrication and parametric modeling for architectural design.  He has founded a fabrication lab at the CAED which features a six-axis robotic arm and several desktop 3D printers. He received a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005, as well as a Master of Advanced Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture in Catalonia (IAAC) in Barcelona in 2010.  Brian’s recent research has been focused on investigating the role of 3D printing as a full scale production tool for architecture. His professional research in the field includes the KamerMaker and 3D Print Canal House by DUS Architects in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His personal research, including Building Bytes, has been published and exhibited worldwide, and has won several design awards in recent years, including the 2013 Architizer A+ Awards, 2014 Architect Magazine’s R +D Awards, and the 2015 Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards.

Margarita Benitez is an Associate Professor in Fashion Design at Kent State University's Fashion School. She previously served as a part-time faculty member in the Art + Technology Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she attained her MFA,  and as an adjunct professor in the Fashion Design program at the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago (ILIC).  Her interdisciplinary background mixes art and technology, interface design, tangible computing, 3D, architecture and fiber and material studies. She is always looking at new technology, whether software or hardware, to learn, explore and subvert. The interdisciplinary approach she takes to her creative practice and pedagogy is part of the unique skill set that she brings to the Fashion School.


Scientific Mentor


Chris Blackwood is an Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Kent State University.  He is a soil biologist whose work examines how interactions between plants and microbes shape ecological outcomes.  Current projects include examination of soil carbon sequestration, forest community composition, and performance of urban green infrastructure.  He obtained his Ph.D. at Michigan State University in Soil Science and Ecology.  


Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library