Using a new type of tile that converts the chemicals in pollution into less toxic substances, the Torre de Especialidades is fighting the city’s bad air–and looking good in the process. Plenty of green buildings cut down on pollution with design features that minimize their energy usage. A tower under construction at a Mexico City hospital, on the other hand, actually eats pollution in the air that surrounds it. The Torre de Especialidades is shielded with a facade of Prosolve370e, a new type of tile whose special shape and chemical coating can help neutralize the chemicals that compose smog: and not just a small amount of them, but the equivalent produced by 8,750 cars driving by each day.
The tile is the first product by Berlin-based design firm Elegant Embellishments, whose co-founder Allison Dring explained to me via email, just exactly how a 100-meter-long tile screen can suck up serious amounts of smog.
Why couldn’t buildings, as in this case beautiful buildings, be designed not just to not emit pollution or sit neutrally in high urban pollution zones, but actually break down pollutants into useful substances?
It’s ingenious, perhaps suggesting new building policies that incentivize pollution eating design.