All humans (with maybe the exception of clear-cutters and some McDonald’s executives) bemoan the cutting down of the rainforests and the overall disappearing of green everywhere. Collaborative research between the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has led to a bio-mechanical hybrid wall that won’t bring back the rainforests, but it does mimic the air purifying qualities of one.

The Active Phytoremediation Wall System is a modular-based wall system comprised of pods which house and hydroponically cultivate plants. The exposed root systems enable to plants to suck impurities out of the air as it passes by them and are 200-300% more effective at doing so than conventionally potted planted. The pods form the outer walls of a multilayered system where the inner volume acts as an air return, pulling the cleaned air to the HVAC via the ceiling.

Courtesy of  SOM +  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The pods are manufactured of a vacuum-formed plastic in a shape that incorporates a thin strip of growing lights at the edges and which are optimized for maximum air flow around the roots with a minimum of material. A prototype of the system is installed at the Public Safety Answering Center II in the Bronx, N.Y. Where data gathered from this and other tests show that while being a plausible wall covering for larger commercial buildings, they are are also ideally suited for smaller spaces, with a four-module system in an apartment having the impact of having 800-1200 house plants.

Courtesy of  SOM +  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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