Wrapped in air-cleaning concrete

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Milan Expo building

The 2015 Milan Expo will include a pavilion with an air-cleaning façade designed by Rome-based architectural practice Nemesi & Partners.

The six-storey building, which will remain after the event is over, will feature an intricate lattice skin conceived in the image of a petrified forest.

The façade uses 10,000 square metres of photocatalytic cement from the leading Italian cement maker Italcementi. The product was originally developed for the façade of Richard Meier’s Jubilee Church in Rome in order to retain its new appearance despite that city’s high levels of air pollution.

The effect is due to titanium dioxide in the cement, which interacts with sunlight to break down organic matter. However, it was subsequently discovered that the cement also possessed pollution reduction properties, reducing smog in adjacent air up to 2.5 metres away. As well as buildings, the cement has also been employed on roads in both Europe and the US.

The photocatalytic power of titanium dioxide has been harnessed by other manufacturers. Alcoa, for example, markets self-cleaning and depolluting aluminium architectural panels that are coated in it.

Even more powerful is prosolve370e, a strikingly beautiful honeycomb decorative module for façades from the Berlin-based company Elegant Embellishments. It can also be retrofitted to improve the appearance and performance of existing buildings.

More information: Nemesi & Partners

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