Vivian Tamm 

Cellular – The Breathing Facade
Weißensee Academy of Arts and Design – BERLIN

Rainwater retaining facade panels that are improving the local micro-climate by accessing the natural growth of air algae as a living glaze.


General Description

Cellular is a climate improving facade tile that integrates the natural growth of air algae as an architectural element, giving a whole new aesthetic to city greening. Following the concept of the „sponge city“, in which precipitation is collected and managed locally, the double walled panels function as rainwater stores. They are unsealing entire facades and transforming them into macro-porous, water-absorbing structures, to create a humid environment that is the perfect habitat for the algae. While the micro-patina produces oxygen and absorbs air pollutants, the evaporating rainwater causes a natural air conditioning.

Adjustable surface coatings allow defining the growth by area and color, accessing the micro-patina as a breathing glaze, and reconsidering vegetative influences as integral and designable elements of architecture.

Sustainability Impact

Today, over 50% of the world’s population live in cities, exposed to the harmful impact of air pollution and heat accumulations, resulting from the extensive ground sealing, contradicting the natural balance of undeveloped land. The facade concept is tackling the urban key challenges of decentralizing the rainwater management and improving the air quality, by revitalizing vertical surfaces.

The reintegration of organic life into our urban landscapes not only has the potential to close interrupted air and water cycles, make cities more resilient to climate change, and increase the well-being of the population. Transforming rigid and anonymous infrastructures into adaptive, self-sufficient, and ecologically and socially inclusive ones, that embrace and celebrate the presence of more than just human species, might also play a crucial role in sharpening our sensitivity towards nature.

Head of Project

Vivian Tamm