Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on July 6, 2008
For almost two decades, I’ve been a victim of L.A.’s various pollutants. From the smog to the endless rows of uninspired strip malls that seem to pop up overnight, this otherwise terrific city has for too long been harmful to both the lungs and the eyes. What we need is more visual appeal combined with auto-sufficiency – something that not only looks incredible but contributes to a cleaner, healthier existence.
Leave it to the French to make my fantasy a reality. Vincent Callebaut’s Anti-Smog: An Innovation Centre in Sustainable Development accomplishes all this and more, using green building techniques and green technology to create a visually stunning center comprised of two structures that feature public spaces like meeting rooms, galleries, a cafeteria and a courtyard.
But it’s not all flash – this ecological marvel is a self-sufficient entity that reacts to its environment and applies avant-garde renewable energies to purify the air of nasty Parisian smog. Labeled a “didactic prototype of ecological experimentations”, the center (or “centre”, for those of you who like to switch letters around unnecessarily) is a linear and emblematic site suspended above Paris’ canal de l’Ourcq that was envisioned as a place in which to educate French citizens on the importance of urban ecology and renewable energy.
Boasting 250 square meters of solar PV that produce more energy than the building uses, the “Solar Drop” structure is also coated with titanium dioxide, which reacts with the suns’ ultraviolet rays to create a photo-catalytic effect that actually breaks down smog in the air. (I don’t really understand what that means — but if it works, I don’t need to know the details.) It also harvests rainwater from the roof for use inside. Connected to the Solar Drop by bridge, the “Wind Tower” is a helical structure captures and utilizes the breeze coming off the canal.
Public buildings that produce positive energetic results – it works for me. Now how do what we did with french fries and incorporate that into American society?
To see more work by Vincent Callebaut, click here.