The Home of the Future Isn’t Smart—It’s ‘Living’ and Green

Sourced from the Singularity Hub

The varied universes of science fiction often offer inspiration for emerging technologies, or at least fitting leads for articles to describe them. Take the spaceship Moya from a sci-fi series called “Farscape,” which follows the adventures of a ragtag team of aliens very much in the spirit of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Moya is a biomechanical ship, part of an alien race called Leviathans that’s been described as a cross between a stingray and a horseshoe crab. She comes equipped with her own version of the warp drive and repair drones, but is also capable of producing offspring, giving a whole new meaning to the term “mothership.”

This hybrid of biology and technology is a fantastical spin on real-world concepts that come with labels like organicism, biotecture, or living architecture. The basic idea of these theories is simple: Integrating biological systems into our living spaces, whether it’s the home, the office, or the first rocket carrying humans to Mars, is imperative for creating more sustainable and healthier environments.

“To develop a more sustainable relationship with the natural world, we need to allow chemical exchanges that take place within our living spaces, and between the inside and the outside,” wrote Dr. Rachel Armstrong, a professor of experimental architecture at Newcastle University who also holds a medical degree.

“Today’s building ‘envelopes’ seal off our living and working spaces to a degree previously unencountered. In many offices, it is no longer possible to open windows manually to let in a breeze,” she noted. “Such buildings ignore the metabolism that is the dynamic scaffolding of living systems.”

Armstrong isn’t just talking about placing a few more houseplants around the office. Her concepts go beyond even adding green roofs to our cityscape or living walls into our apartments, though such biological structures can potentially cool down the heat island effect or help purify air and buffer sound indoors.

Instead, Armstrong is advocating for installing complex biological systems that can recycle wastewater and generate electricity, among other services, into our living spaces. This year marks the culmination of the three-year Living Architecture (LIAR) project, which aims to demonstrate how bathrooms, kitchens, and commercial spaces can be transformed into environmentally sensitive sites, according to Armstrong.

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