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moss covered concreteHave you ever liked the look of a building in the summer, yet found it to be out of place in other seasons? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a building change its look to reflect the time of year?

A team of researchers at the Structural Technology Group of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) thought so. They have developed and patented a type of biological concrete that supports the natural, accelerated growth of pigmented organisms.

Basically, the building will support the growth and development of certain families of microalgae, fungi, lichens and moss. Designed for Mediterranean climates, the system not only offers aesthetic advantages, but also environmental and thermal advantages as well.

Biological concreteThe system is based on the study of two cement based materials:

–        Based on Portland Cement

–        Can be used to maintain a material with a pH of around 8

–        A hydraulic conglomerate

–        Is slightly acidic, therefore does not need treatment to reduce its pH

–        Is used in the field of medicine and dentistry, indicating it does not have an additional environmental impact

These materials would combine to form four layers: a waterproofing layer, a structural layer, a bioreceptive layer (which aids the growth that aids the growth of organisms), and a reverse waterproofing layer that retains water for the plants.

Though the system is still in development, and is not yet commercially available, it will be interesting to see when and if this catches on in the future, and how the structure beneath would react to the watering system for the plants.

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