Cleaner air. It’s almost not worth mentioning how often the issue of cleaner air comes up in the news. It comes up a lot. We are regularly introduced to the innovations around making our air cleaner and the planet healthier. The one innovation I don’t think we hear enough about is buildings that breathe. Buildings that take in the bad air and leave us with the good. Buildings that inhale and exhale to support a healthier more natural environment for us.
"The one innovation I don’t think we hear enough about is buildings that breathe"
A perfect example of this, is the Tower at PNC Plaza. Developers of the Tower were determined that their building would literally inhale and exhale. This would allow a constant flow of fresh air in and out of the building for the employees that work there. This breathability, combined with a sheer transparency, would create a feeling of being outside.
By combining a double skin facade with a solar chimney. When heat is caught in the chimney, cold air is attracted to it, entering through the facade. The cold air is pulled across the floor plate into the building and upward where it disperses.
What a wonderful and green alternative to air conditioning. I don’t know about you, but I notice the difference between air conditioning and fresh air. I think we all can. It’s why we insist on escaping to the country, to the beach, anywhere with fresh air to clear our heads.
"A wonderful and green alternative to air conditioning"
What other innovations do we have in our arsenal to create breathing buildings?
Well, due to be completed this year, is the Tao Zhu Yin Yuan structure in Tapei, Taiwan. When construction is complete on this already brilliant design, 23,000 trees and shrubs will be planted on and within the building. The plants will act as the lungs, inhaling the Co2, exhaling the oxygen, cleaning roughly 27 cars worth of emissions every year.
"The plants will act as the lungs, inhaling the Co2, exhaling the oxygen"
What makes this design extra special, aside from its air cleaning capabilities, is the impact of biophilia. Biophilia is the theory that we are drawn to plants and nature and that being surrounded by nature is good for our mental and physical health.
Clean air and good vibes? Sign me up.
These are two very specific examples of buildings that breathe. Buildings that exist like giant lungs. There are other ways we can implement breathability in to our structures.
Extensive work is being put into bricks which can benefit the air around them.
The Breathe Brick acts like part of a ventilation system, essentially breathing in the bad air and depositing the heavy pollutant particles in to a removable bottom part of the wall. This is done using a cyclone filtration system, a method used in modern vacuum cleaners.
"Breathing in the bad air and depositing the heavy pollutant particles in to a removable bottom part"
From benefiting the air around a building, to creating a fresh and natural environment for inhabitants, breathing buildings are the next step in creating healthier working and living spaces. Not just for our lungs, but for our happiness too.