As another image of President Trump clouded the NeoCon conference screen during a talk on healthy buildings, speaker Eric Corey Freed explained the importance of sustainability as being “to give us a Star Trek world instead of a Mad Max one.”
LEED Fellow and founding principal at organicARCHITECT, Freed continued by saying that green design is simply less bad, and that we need to go from “less bad to good.”
The Xprize Foundation selected Freed to design a contest for healthy buildings, launched in 2016. The revolution in biology, according to the architect, could radically change how we construct buildings in the future. Various teams selected to participate in the contest must grow an 8-inch wall which matches the properties of a typical wall, with bio features that allow the wall to self-heal and breathe.
“We’ve been building the same way for the last 200 years,” he said. “And although we’ve begun incorporating living walls and living roofs into our buildings, we’re just adding nature to a toxic thing.”
Bio-based fabrication could be the next big market-booming trend. In fact, Dr. Ron Weiss from MIT’s Weiss Lab for Synthetic Biology told Freed that growing a house is “easy.”
The difficult part, though, is shape and size. The major challenge the Xprize for Healthy Buildings will solve, then, is growing a wall of proper proportions so that we can one day grow full structures. Can they do it so our future will be net zero all the way? They’ll certainly give it a shot, and as Freed concludes his conference talk:
American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of AgriExpo e-magazine and ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including her first novel.