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In the second in our series of innovator interviews, supported by the Knowledge Transfer Network, we met up with Marco Poletto from ecoLogicStudio. Their Bio-Digital cladding system is a great illustration about how new building technologies can develop when art and science combine.

ecoLogicStudio’s technology encapsulates algae micro-organisms within a custom-designed ETFE cladding system. Collaborating with Taiyo Europe, ecoLogicStudio were able to develop a methodology for welding ETFE to direct the flow of water and algae to optimise the performance of the algae-based system. The algae’s natural response to solar radiation provides an active method for controlling overheating in buildings.

The concept evolved from the requirement for future cities to become more self-sufficient and able to generate their own energy and produce their own food and nutrients. Initially ecoLogicStudio experimented with how microorganisms could be used within the urban fabric. These initial experiments were from an artistic perspective, examining the public’s response to microorganisms within architecture.

The biggest challenge has been making the step from being a design driven innovation to a full scale working prototype. Finding a suitable project to test the concepts at scale was difficult, however ecoLogicStudio were fortunate to be involved in the Expo2015 in Milan, this enabled them to collaborate with manufacturers such as Taiyo in the design and engineering of the world’s first application of the Bio-Digital Cladding system: the Urban Algae Canopy for the Future Food District at EXPO 2015.

Marco reiterates the need for innovators to retain their driving ambition and philosophy and to refer back to that vision when times get tough and in challenging moments.

ecoLogicStudio are now developing test platforms at their BIO Urban Design Lab at UCL in London, as well as developing new strands of ideas around how we may combine biological and digital technologies for the Urban Environment.

Links:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3MgCC9bics&feature=youtu.be
ecoLogicStudio: www.ecologicstudio.com/
Modern Built Environment KTN: connect.innovateuk.org/web/modernbuiltktn/overview

 

Ali Nicholl
About the Author
Innovation Network Manager @BRE_Group helping companies to innovate within the built environment. All opinions my own.

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