It's Alive! 5 of the World's Most Bionic Buildings

Cate St Hill examines the futuristic systems being employed by the most biologically advanced buildings in the world.

Several architecture firms in Europe and Asia have incorporated algae, plants and micro-organisms into their building facades. The move is part of a design trend toward creating bio-adaptive structures that can provide shading, temperature control, natural air and water filtration and even food for their inhabitants.

Algae are very responsive to sunlight for their growth and, when incorporated into facades, including into an engineered three-layer concrete, act as a natural barrier between climates and materials and generate renewable energy in the form of bio-fuel. Like other members of the plant kingdom, they absorb carbon and release oxygen into the atmosphere.

Imagine an office building where dividing walls are passion fruit trees, tomato vines hang above conference tables and a rice paddy fills the lobby space.

Between vertical urban forests and the implantation of algae and micro-organisms in bio-reactive facades, buildings are evolving into true living systems.

Full Story: Five of the most biologically advanced buildings in the world

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