Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Living Architecture

PostedJune 14, 2015

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Anchor Lead: We think of our homes and buildings as static shelters. But what if such structures could move and even do tasks like clean the air?

Randy Atkins: Buildings should be an extension of our bodies – sort of like clothes – that move to meet our needs, says architect Doris Sung.

Doris Sung: If architecture can breathe or it can move or it can ventilate and change as you change inside or as the environment changes then I think it actually can be more sustainable.

Randy Atkins: Sung is using smart materials to engineer structures that automatically change shape in response to, say, light or heat…providing shade and ventilation. She says these energy-free systems might even clean smog outdoors.

Doris Sung: We can actually promote more air movement along the surface of a building, and if we can actually move air then there’s the potential that we can also filter air.

Randy Atkins: And begin changing buildings from a cause of pollution, to a solution. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.