Designed for the Future

Biomimicry and biodesign—which involve creating lifelike or living systems, products, and technologies—give me hope about the future. Several architects and engineers are using algae—living, photosynthesizing microbes—in building facades. The engineering firm Arup created a promising system for a German building expo. It has a living algae curtain wall, which harvests the building’s algae as an energy source through a bioreactor.

Excerpted from “Biomimicry and Biodesign” in Designed for the Future. Jared Green, ed. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015.

“From an algae-powered building to a playground of recycled steel drums, these spots give designers, urban planners and others hope.”

“For some, Earth Day offers a moment of pause to contemplate sustainability—how we use water, how we generate power, and how we get from point A to point B. But for those shaping the built environment, their thoughts extend past the news cycle to encompass ideas and actions that will impact the next generation.”

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