Advances in Façade Technology

algae medley

We are often told not to judge a book by its cover, but what about a building? A new residential project called BIQ in Hamburg, Germany by Splitterwerk and Arup is pushing building envelope construction to new limits – combining science and aesthetics in a bold and exciting manner.

The BIQ building is sheathed in a series of panels containing microalgae which photosynthesize using liquid nutrients and CO2. As algae in the sun-facing panels grows, energy is produced in quantities large enough to support the activities of 15 residential units within the building. Along with energy production, this sustainable screening system also offers solar shading and thermal and acoustic insulation.

“To use bio-chemical processes for adaptive shading is a really innovative and sustainable solution so it is great to see it being tested in a real-life scenario. As well as generating renewable energy and providing shade to keep the inside of the building cooler on sunny days, it also creates a visually interesting look that architects and building owners will like.” –  Jan Wurm, Arup’s Europe Research Leader

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