It’s inevitable. We’ve been fighting the green revolution with buildings that act like animals and plants–take Enric Ruiz-Geli’s Villa Nurbs, which squints its plastic bubble eyes in the sun, or Renzo Piano’s Academy of Sciences, with a rolling green skin that breathes in the wind–and now here’s a proposal for a building that grows on its own. Efficient, biomimetic design, or one step away from “I, Building”?
GEOtube, a proposal from Berkeley-based Faulders Studio, uses salt water to grow a facade. The building sucks up water from the Persian Gulf (the source of the world’s saltiest ocean water) through a 4.62 km underground pipeline, and then sprays it over its mesh facade. The water will evaporate in the hot Dubai sun, leaving behind crystallized salt deposits: voila! Windows. Faulders Studio has done this kind of thing before: the Biophyte Building, proposed for Tehran, generates its own insulating layer of moss. Though it’s unclear how well a wall of salt will protect GEOtube’s interior from overheating (is this just a big, saline greenhouse?), it is a handy solution to fixing broken panes. In any case, it’s only a proposal, but an interesting extension of biomimicry to buildings that don’t just act like living things, but actually, creepily, are kind of…alive. Okay, who’s going to come up with the Three Laws for sentient architecture?