The Desolation of Smog

Keaton Nemes Blog Post 12

In many cities across the globe smog has become a pressing issue. From China, to England, to the U.S. smog has become a serious issue and is a direct result of the continued consumption of fossil fuels. With this recognition people have begun to curb their consumption habits but smog is still prevalent today. It is common to hear talk about designing sustainable and designing for the future, however, what isn’t talked about as much is designing for regeneration. Rather than just existing with zero environmental impact, designing for regeneration not only encourages zero impact but requires the building to improve upon the environment that it is already in. One such way that these buildings can improve upon their environment is through its facade.

On the Manuel Gea Gonzalez Hospital in Mexico, a titanium oxide coating was used on the facade which interacts with the pollutants in the air and results in the release of water and carbon dioxide. This greatly reduces the smog around the hospital area, and helps scrub the air of harmful particulates. This facade could easily be applied all around the globe and could greatly reduce the effects of smog paving the way for cleaner air.

Some may argue that this does not get to the root of the problem which is fossil fuel consumption. Simply cleaning the pollution does nothing to prevent it from occurring in the first place. While this is a valid argument, I think it is also fair to say that the complete removal of fossil fuels will unfortunately take quite awhile, and so this style of regenerative design would be an excellent application for the time being. It should also be mentioned that this building practice may add some substantial cost to the project, but with more refining could become a facade no more expensive than any other.


Shaw, Matt. “Smog-Eating Façades and the Future of Air Quality.” Architizer. N.p., 13 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.


One comment

  1. kurtismachtemes

    Week 12 Comment 5 (make up) The concept of a smog “eating” facade is super intriguing idea especially this is a problem faced by many major cites across the globe. I believe this concept could be developed much further especially if creative minds from these distant places were to come together to resolve this matter, but that type of collaboration is an issue by itself. Perhaps we could incorporate this smog eliminating technology into places where most of this smog is being produced to eliminate it at the source before it has a chance to produce negative effects. Or instead we could develop a method of capturing this waste and devise a way to repurpose it as is being done in areas such as China. As said at the begging there is a lot to be learned and gained by working with others that may have different backgrounds. This diversity could prove vital to solving some of the planets largest issues but can only be accomplished by working together.

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