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Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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With the air quality getting worse by the moment, architecture steps in to save the day. A hospital building in Mexico City is designed to absorb the smog in the surrounding area to provide clean air to the patients, where it is in dire need, as well as people around.

The main hospital building, which is called Torre de Especialidades, is surrounded by a mesh-like structure to break down the passing wind and let as much air as possible through the uneven holes.

building

Now the chemistry kicks in. The mesh is coated with titanium dioxide. The tiles used in constructing the mesh are created by Berlin-based architecture firm Elegant Embellishments.

Titanium dioxide is a valuable material. It is activated by sunlight and acts as a catalyst for chemical reactions converting mono-nitrogen oxides into calcium nitrate and water and also, carbon dioxide.

So, the mesh works by converting smog into calcium nitrate which is harmless to the environment but also carbon dioxide, which is less harmful than the smog.

It’s a stable design because the titanium dioxide does not get depleted in the process and the process can go on forever. So, the building can filter air constantly.

building

The makers of the building claim that their design can eat up smog resulting from about 1,000 cars in just one day. They are hopeful that the technology will inspire others to follow suit. Imagine if all the buildings in the city are designed in a mesh-like manner, the smog would not stand a single chance.

The Palazzo Italia project in Milan is one such example. The building claims to reduce pollution by 45%.

One backdrop of the design is that it is a little costly affair and adds up to 4 to 5% to the construction cost but considering its positive impact, it’s actually worth it.

This hospital building is a fine example of how modern architecture incorporates sustainability and provides a much-needed solution through simple methods. The buildings can act as a powerful tool to combat pollution as the number of buildings in the world are constantly increasing keeping up with the growing population. They can provide us with a clean city as well as a clean home to breathe into.

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