Edge of Innovation

A BIOSKIN Building Facade? A Skyscraper-Sized Air Conditioner!

The Creators Project Content Partner, Intel iQ

From absorbing smog (Milan) to piezoelectric straws (Stockholm), a buildings facade is becoming the key location for innovators in the field.

What is BIOSKIN?

One of these innovations is BIOSKIN, a system of ceramic pipes that absorbs and evaporates heat. Developed by Japanese architecture firm Nikken Sekkei two years ago and implemented on the NBF Osaki Building in Tokyo, BIOSKIN recently won the 2014 Tall Building Innovation Award from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

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Inspired by Uchimizu

BIOSKIN was inspired by the traditional practice of uchimizu, the sprinkling of water in Japanese gardens, temples and streets to lower ambient temperatures and keep dust at bay. On the building, the “skin’ is made of extruded aluminum cores, with a water-retentive terra-cotta shell. Rainwater is collected from the roof and then sent to the basement to be sterilized before it’s circulated throughout the building through a series of pipes.

At the Tokyo office, the pipes were designed into the structure as balcony railings and Japanese window blinds known as sudare. As the water evaporates out of the pipes, it cools its surroundings, reducing the building’s interior temperature by as much as 6 °C.

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Some designers believe that if the majority of the buildingAhere could be a metropolis-wide impact on the climate. There’s no word yet on if other skyscrapers will adopt the tech, but the facade could be an eco-friendly strategy towards designing a fully air-conditioned city (unlike other, expensive and unsustainable, projects).

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