Our approach towards this challenge was to create a building block for large structures similar to how nature works from the bottom up that can serve as a catalyst for bio-material design that’s environmentally friendly. Our main inspirations as biomimicry were two: biological support structures and tetrahedral node networks that maximize strength using as little material in as much space as possible from single-cell organisms like Diatoms and Radiolaria or Bee Honeycombs; the other was atmospheric cleansing from plants using enzymes to metabolize Volatile Organic Compounds with hope of achieving the same principles and outcomes.
Using biomineralization to create a structural skeleton from a compound similar to Silica used by Radiolaria and Glass Sponges or Chitin used in the exoskeletons of arthropods and parts of cephalopods, we created a building block that consists of a Dodecahedron geometry that’s been filled with 60 small spheres and one large sphere made of organic material containing grass seeds and an enzyme called ‘Aldehyde Dehydrogenase’ (ALDH) whose purpose in plants is removing atmospheric oxidized Volatile Organic Compounds (oVOC); the voids are filled with a chitin-based compound made by adding Pre-Hydrolyzed Tetraethyl Orthosilicate to a Chitin or Chitosan aqueous solution. Once the solution is cast and the compound rigidized, the block is removed from the mold and we are left with a porous geometry filled with a sphere of organic material that’s bound to clean the air during it’s lifecycle.
By creating a canopy to be placed on parks, public spaces or even rooftops, we create a ‘living organism’ made by small ‘living cells’ that are bound to die and leave a carcass made of a biological material that’ll serve as support structure for future organisms to live in.