(TedTalks, Oxford, UK) — Venice is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too.
Dr. Rachel Armstrong believes it’s possible to create chemically engineered building materials in the form of synthetic limestone reefs. Created from protocells, fatty bags of DNA that move and react like living organisms, her buildings would grow, self-repair and respond to environmental pressures just as if they were living creatures. Armstrong believes that future architecture should be connected to the natural world, and communicate with nature. If that’s not cool enough, Armstrong’s technology could theoretically save Venice, Italy from sinking by lifting it from the ocean.