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Rachel Armstrong      

Designer, Scientist and Sustainability Innovator

Imagine a building covered with a biological paint that binds CO2 while developing a beautiful limestone coat around it. It would mean the building would contribute to the solution to climate change at the very place where the problem originates: in the city.

Designer, scientist and sustainability innovator Rachel Armstrong investigates such ideas in a new approach to building materials, called ‘living architecture’. On the brink of design, architecture and science, she creates open innovation platforms, exploring building practices that incorporate properties of living systems.

‘The kind of architecture I’m dreaming of engages and designs with metabolism and could produce buildings with organs and physiologies that, for example, process vital nutrients, filter our water and even produce energy,’ she says.

Armstrong is co-director of the AVATAR (Advanced Virtual And Technological Architectural Research) group at the School of Architecture, Design and Construction, University of Greenwich. She was originally trained and has practiced as a medical professional, and just completed a PhD in Architectural Design.

On two occasions Armstrong has advised the EU on interdisciplinary, scientific research into environmental pollution. She is a 2010 Senior TED Fellow and was on the Wired 2013 Smart list and the 2013 ICON 50.

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