Rachel Armstrong’s vision is of a futuristic city lit by coloured tubes of light weaving organically through the rooms and spaces. The tubes are twisted into bizarre shapes, which can change colour to reflect moods. And they light up as people pass through the spaces, reacting almost intelligently to the presence of humans.
The power source for these tubes is not electricity but bioluminescent algae.
“The wicked thing about algae is that they luminesce in response to vibrations,” said Armstrong, at an event entitled ‘Future Buildings’ in Cheltenham yesterday. This would mean that not only would bio-powered tubes be low carbon, but they would also switch on in response to people moving around close to them.
Will future buildings really contain biological power, and perhaps even living structural components? Armstrong hopes so. Better integration with synthetic biology could “re-infuse our living spaces with the emotion they lack at the moment,” she said.