September 6, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
With future sustainable housing for large cities in mind, Off the Grid explores the integration of electronics and biochemistry in the design of building facades.
Today, our habitat is very dependent on the international energy & water grid. Energy crisis, clean water shortage, global warming, and environmental pollution are worldwide problems. Understanding cities as dynamic and ever-evolving eco-systems can help us to formulate strategies for a sustainable urban future. This project began with a brief for developing sustainable housing for a megalopolis in China in 2020.
The design concept fundamentally changes the current approach to buildings and habitats. This future habitat shifts from the current state where the building surfaces are benign, inert ‘dumb’ materials only used for construction and shielding purposes, to sensitive functional skins that are ‘alive’ and act as membranes to harness energy. A membrane creates a strong link between the exterior and interior of the habitat, used as a transporter to collect and channel air, water, and light from the outside to the inside space, thus suppling the habitat with all necessary sources to enable living off the grid.