Material innovation in architecture and design

Here are 5 trends and innovative materials that are permanently changing architecture and design

Project Bad Aibling, source & copyright by Florian-Nagler

Author: House of Eden

38% - This is the global share of CO2 emissions from the construction and building sector. This means that the industry is lagging frighteningly far behind the limit of the Paris climate protection agreement. Emissions still have to be halved by 2030. But doesSustainable Building actually work? And what innovations can make it possible?

5 trends for material innovation in architecture and design

1. Simply build

The research project in Bad Aibling by architect Florian Nagler and the Technical University of Munich shows the possibilities of low tech building with reduced materials. The motto here is: Innovation through reduction. The three houses made of insulating concrete, masonry and wood, for example, do without steel reinforcement, which requires a high energy input in production and processing and thus has a negative impact on the CO2 balance of the building.

Material innovation in architecture and design

Project Bad Aibling, source & copyright by Florian Nagler

This also means that the houses do not have any protrusions or large openings in the facade. In turn, this has an effect on the indoor climate, which has been studied in detail to create ideal climatic conditions. The goal is to ultimately create living space for which the users do not need an instruction manual and still save CO2.

2. Power of nature

The concept is to create a "residential power plant" that produces biomass by cultivating algae and can provide the building's energy supply at the same time. Sounds complicated, and it is! In a nutshell, it works like this:
The algae photosynthesise in panels attached to the façade through solar radiation.

Material innovation in architecture and design

In the process, CO2 is absorbed and oxygen is released. This process generates heat that, in combination with the solar thermal effect of the panels, can be used for heating as well as hot water. The biomass can then, depending on the season, be used for the food and cosmetics industry, or converted into biogas in an external facility and fed into the grid. The pilot project for this innovative type of energy generation, the "BIQ", is located in Hamburg Wilhelmsburg and has been in operation since 2013.

3. Power mushrooms

Mycelium is the material innovation in architecture and design. Start-ups such as the London-based company Biohm use mycelium, the thread-like structures of a fungus, to produce building insulation that extracts CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows.

Material innovation in architecture and design

Triagomy, source & copyright by Biohm

This insulation has better insulating properties than many conventional insulating materials, binds CO2 and is also fire-retardant. Mycelium is inexpensive to produce and production takes place in bioreactors. It can also be used to make other products such as packing material or vegan leather.

4. The Breathe Brick

What if a buildings had an organ, like the body, to filter pollutants? That's the question posed by Carmen Trudel, assistant professor in the Cal Poly College of Architecture and Environmental Design. In response, she is developing the Breathe Brick, the material innovation for architecture and design. It provides a cost-effective solution to the global problem of poor air quality.

Material innovation in architecture and design

Breath Brick, Source & Copyright by Katehajash

The stone works in a similar way to a vacuum cleaner in that it draws in polluted air, filters it, and emits clean air. These stones are integrated into the building as part of the ventilation system. The long-term goal is to make technology available in all parts of the world by providing kits that people can build themselves, independent of existing infrastructure and without support.

5. White painting

The brightest colourof the world. That's the result of research by some Perdue University scientists on a mission to create a paint that cools buildings without using energy. The idea was to make a paint that would reflect sunlight away from a building. And they were very successful. The result: another material innovation for architecture and design.

Material innovation in architecture and design

Source & Copyright by Purdue University / Joseph Peoples

The colour reflects 98,1% of the solar radiation. Since the paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it gives off, a surface coated with this paint is cooled below the ambient temperature. Using this new colour on a roof area of ​​around 1.000 square meters, for example, could result in a cooling capacity of 10 kilowatts. This is more powerful than the air conditioners used in most homes.


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

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