Hungry Mind:
Dr. Jan Wurm

brings Algae to the Facades

Jan Wurm Kopie© Colt International GmbH

The times when people thought they could conquer nature with technical adventures are over. But in fact this is exactly the change that finally allows technology to live up to it’s potential. Jan Wurm is passionate architect and designer at Arup, who is not only inspired by architectonical expressions, but also by constructive technical innovations. Nature is his greatest inspiration: He observes natural processes and develops building materials and structures, which we thought could only exist in our dreams.

For his Solarleaf- house in Hamburg, he took a closer look at leafs. Double glass walls were filled with water, which now serves as home to algae. Just as leafs do, the façade is practising photosynthesis. “We are harvesting sunlight and collect carbon, whilst generating biomass and heat!” This special façade does not only give shade, but also delivers warm water and energy for the house. And it looks really good.

By the way, the produced algae mass is very healthy: Algae are used in cosmetic products and as supplements, so that with more Solarleaf- houses, we could develop a whole new industry.

Nature is the highest form of technology – and Jan Wurms partner. 6 CFL questions for him.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-12-03 um 15.34.59

1. How did you come to your profession? Whose fault is it? Your parent’s, society’s, or God’s?

The (Oden) forest – and my parents, to they allowed me follow my inspiration and have huts built there.

2. Who would you like to build a sand castle with, and why?

With Cate Blanchett – she grew up by the seaside.

3. Which restaurant would you choose to show your love to a person?

Mibu, Tokyo

4. And what would be your choice, if you wanted to impress someone?

River Cafe, Brooklyn 

5. Are we humans gardeners of a Garden of Eden, bacteria in a body or parasites on a dying host?

A swarm of fish in the ocean.

6. If you had to choose: Would you rather cease to be or continue living as a plant or an animal for some time? If yes, which one

As fish in the ocean.


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