Let's take a look at some of the world's latest innovations in architecture and design. 

Building façade that cleans the air in NYC


US firm builtd has designed a high-rise building in New York with a façade that will actually reduce pollution. The building will be clad in Neolith panels, which consist of raw minerals that have undergone high heat and pressure to mimic the look of natural stone, and have been coated with a titanium dioxide nanoparticle-based treatment called Pureti. This treatment allows the panels to alter the chemical makeup of the surrounding air while also being self-cleaning.

The treatment is hydroscopic, which means it pushes water and dirt away from the building and ensures water will not leave streaks on the cladding. It is also photocatalytic, which means it reacts to sunlight and moisture and breaks down volatile compounds in the air, much like how trees break down greenhouse gases.

Slide experiment in Florentine palace examines how plants feel


An installation by German artist Carsten Höller and neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso intends to explore the emotional effects of people on plants. The installation in Florence’s Palazzo Strozzi consists of two inter-looped tunnel slides, one of which visitors are allowed to slide down. 

Each participant will be given a plant to hold while journeying down the slide. Once participants reach the bottom, they will enter a pop-up lab where scientists will monitor the plant’s photosynthetic parameters and volatile molecules. According to Mancuso, these are produced when the plant senses the emotions of the person going down the slide. 

Connected to various points of both slides’ exteriors are trellis wires. Mancuso’s hypothesis is that plants growing on the side of the building will choose to grow alongside the slide that the participants are using, with the direction of their growth being influenced by participants’ feelings of fear and excitement. 

Controversial “pollution pod” installation in London


British artist Michael Pinsky has developed a series of pollution-filled domes at Somerset House in London. There are five interconnected domes, four of which recreate air pollution from a world city: London, Beijing, Sao Paulo and New Delhi. One dome however, contains highly pure air from Tautra in Norway, which allows visitors to detect the difference in air quality. 

However, the installation has been widely criticised by scientists, who deemed it highly unsafe to release so many toxins in such a small enclosed space. According to the scientists, this could actually kill people. Therefore, Pinsky was forced to use Airlabs technology to purify the air of any deadly toxins. The installation has since been opened to the public.