What can your building do? This latticework exterior on a surgery building in Mexico City has the ability to react with smog, breaking it down into smaller, safer substances. Intense traffic there is putting the new facade to the test.
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Berlin-based design firm Elegant Establishments developed the facade for the Torre de Especialidades building at the Hospital General Dr. Manuel Gea González. The designers created the facade using tiles called Prosolve370e that contain titanium dioxide, better known as a key ingredient in sunscreen.
When sunlight hits the building tiles, the smog reacts with the material. That reaction causes pollutants to break down into substances that are less noxious such as calcium nitrate, carbon dioxide and water, FastCoExist.com's Zak Stone reported earlier this year. Curving open-weave tiles help spread those reactions over about 27,000 square feet. The building, which opened in April, is expected to continue breaking down smog well into the future.