Energy Initiative Blogs

Regenerative Architecture

by Ayesha Riaz | Jul 29, 2015

Regenerative design is a theory based on interactions within a system that ultimately enhance itself.  Landscape architecture is a branch of architecture that uses this ideology as a means of creating architecture that takes into consideration both the design of the structure and anticipates how the results will change the environment around the building.

What this means is that regenerative design is essentially biomimicry of the human world. Since we cannot create a pure closed-loop system like the water cycle by Nature, we must adapt our technologies towards a system that strives towards minimal waste.  It relies heavily on restorative actions, sustainability, and technology to produce a system that is both efficient and sustainable. In order to do so, the architecture itself, (the physical building, materials, structure) is developed alongside with the actual site (ground, native plants, ecological surroundings).

Today, technology has made great strides in order to accommodate changes in our surroundings that would prove to be highly beneficial for us. This is apparent through different parts in the architectural process. For the physical site, ensuring that construction does not harm the surrounding areas and  re-planting native plants would aid in ensuring a regenerative system. For architectural design, using passive and active solar heating and employing the use of renewable energy generation for heating, ventilation and cooling efficiency.  In construction, using recycled and salvaged building materials is particularly important. Recently, attention has been given to building skins that offset carbon emissions and intake a percentage of pollution, purifying the air. Manuel Gea Gonzalez Hospital in Mexico City introduced a 'smog-eating facade' coated with titanium dioxide. Reacting with ultraviolet light, it neutralizes the elements of smog  (an environmental problem that Mexico City struggles with).

Nemesi_SmogEatingPavillion

Nemesi_ItalyPavilionInterior
                   Italy Pavilion - Nemesi Studio for Milan Expo 2015

A more recent example is the Italy Pavilion, created by  Nemesi as the winning design for an international competition for the Milan Expo 2015. The buildings serves a variety of purposes such as: exhibition, events, office, restaurant, and terrace spaces. The winning factor of regenerative architecture lies in its branched facade. Over 700 i.active biodynamic concrete panels from Italcemeneti's TX active technology reduces the apparent smog by capturing pollution and synthesizing it into inert salts held in the facade. The roof also uses photovoltaic glass to reduce pollution.

Nemesi_ItalyPavilionSection                                      Italy Pavilion - Section 

Additional Material:

Italy Pavillion - Milan Expo 2015 / Nemesi
http://www.archdaily.com/630901/italy-pavilion-milan-expo-2015-nemesi

Living, Regenerative, and Adaptive Buildings
http://www.wbdg.org/resources/livingbuildings.php

Regenerative Architecture: Design That Matters
http://persingerarchitects.com/2012/01/07/regenerative-architecture-design-that-matters/

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