Hana Cvelbar – University College of London
Numerous architectural trends advocate for urban greening to attain net-zero objectives. However, conventional approaches, such as green walls, are highly energy intensive, contradicting sustainability. In contrast, our project features a self-sustaining living system that is not only designed for nature but collaborates with nature, contributing to the ecosystem’s overall health.
Our project originates from rigorous studies of organisms in urban and wild environments. We have developed a manifest that leads to a successful greening of cities and eradicates the heat islands effect. There are three crucial factors for producing resilient ecological communities in cities. The first one is to provide organisms with the essential component, water. We developed a highly porous bio-based ceramic derived from the waste stream of the sugarcane bagasse industry. Through this, we reused agro-industrial waste, contributed to the circular economy, and developed a material capable of high water retention.
Secondly, we merged materiality with living by integrating the beneficial microbe Streptomyces, recognised for its positive probiotic value. This created a fruitful ground for photosynthetic organisms to thrive by boosting their immune system and protecting them from pathogens. In return, algae and mosses act as biofilters in urban settings by filtering harmful particles such as PMx, and NOx and performing CO2 absorption.
Lastly, we computationally localised areas of different growth patterns to generate micro-environments for multi-species colonisation. Further, we robotically 3D printed gradient material with different porosities that fulfils the needs of different species for moisture, light, and nutrient requirements. Overall, this is a shift from mono-material and flat architecture towards a more dynamic and diverse future, boosting biodiversity in cities.
In conclusion, our project embodies the fundamental objectives of the EU Green Deal by forging a path toward a pollution-free world, promoting natural habitats and biodiversity, and mitigating the devastating effects of rising global temperatures.