Biology is capable of extraordinary feats of engineering, and the next frontier in building technology might be to make buildings part of nature. Here are five ways we think the buildings of the future might become living, breathing things. Many buildings – especially the high rise, glassy office towers found in major cities across the world – are on permanent life support. Most buildings are constantly absorbing materials and energy, while returning waste that needs to be taken away and treated at industrial scales. A team of researchers on an EU project called Living Architecture is working to develop a new type of microbial fuel cell, which takes domestic waste and generates small amounts of power, as part of a wider project exploring the processing power of microbes in buildings. The fuel cells are integrated into bricks that would become part of the structural fabric of the building as well as being its stomach. Imagine a city of buildings that gently die and return to the Earth forming the food for the next ones to grow to change and adapt.
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