An important part of our design research investigates ways of growing materials rather than producing them in less “natural” or “organic” or “sustainable” ways. Harnessing natural processes such as melting, freezing, solidification and sedimentation could be the starting point for a revolution in the building industry, a quantum leap where buildings move well beyond being just carbon negative, towards becoming agents for positive environmental developments.
But not all growth processes are organic. As part of our synthetic chemistry agenda, we work with crystallisation and recrystallisation. Crystal buildings already exist, of course: concrete is a crystalline material, as are, for instance, almost all metals.
The Crystal Canopy on display here will slowly crystallise into shape over the course of the SCIN exhibition. Aluminium potassium sulphate crystals will eventually form the crystal “skin” of the canopy.