Development

Air-Purifying Cement Facade Coming to Milan Expo 2015, by Gizmag

File Type: Free Content, Article
Release Date: June 2014
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smokestacks

Palazzo Italia, the centerpiece of Milan Expo 2015, will be clad with more than 2,000 tons of photocatalytic, “smog-eating” cement, stretching over 96,000 square feet. In direct sunlight, the material will capture pollutants in the air and convert them into inert salts. A May 23 article in Gizmag, an independent online technology publication, reports that some 80 percent of the air-purifying cement is made from recycled materials.

Nemesi & Partners, designers of the pavilion, wanted the structure to “act like a kind of urban jungle, not only aesthetically but by also mimicking the role of trees in city landscapes — which naturally help purify the air.” According to Italcimenti, the company that developed the cement mix, "the entire outdoor surface and part of the interiors will consist of i.active Biodynamic cement panels." The facade design resembles large, stretched-out tree branches that wrap themselves around the building, which also will be fitted with a photovoltaic glass rooftop that will generate solar energy during the day. The structure is expected to remain long after the Expo ends at the end of October 2015, becoming a permanent feature in Milan.