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BREATHE! was developed for the Tallinn Architecture Biennale Pavilion Competition 2017, and awarded the 3rd Prize.

Air pollution by airborne particles represents a concerning issue in Tallinn, where particulate matter, retains a high level of toxicity, particularly in the trafficked areas around the city centre where the Estonian Centre of Architecture is located. The widespread concerns have sustained in recent years policies of rigorous air monitoring, with the key air contaminants being continuously audited and shared with the wider public. However, despite the availability of granular information, general remediation strategies have lacked to address effectively the issues of pedestrian commuters.

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BREATHE! aims to involve the Biennale’s visitors in the activation of these environmental data-sets, asking them to participate in the monitoring and analysis of the air quality on site. The project proposes a mechanically ventilated timber structure, designed to support the growth of ivy-like creepers exploiting the ability to absorb the airborne particles and the gasses produced by the passing vehicles.  

By scanning the QR codes at the base of the pavilion, the visitors are invited to preview live diffusion maps describing the real-time distribution of airborne particles on site, before placing on the timber frame an individual nutri-sticker designed to direct the growth of the ivy towards the areas more likely to be confronted by high levels of pollutants. Guided by the spreading arrangement of the acid green stickers the timber frame is gradually contaminated by the growing creepers, with its final arrangement slowly emerging at the end of the Biennale as a response to the collective interpretative effort of the visitors. The result is an additive manufacturing strategy that, by mapping the history of optimisation of the pavilion as urban bio-filter, explores the aesthetics of embodied behavioural patterns within the public domain and the added value of playfulness as engaging mechanism for distributed decision-making.

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A project by FLOW Architecture 

Stage: Competition - Awarded 3rd Prize