Ecologists, designers explore new ‘architecture-biology interface’

The air we breathe and the bugs we share are under the scope here and in ways that our intuition has been telling us – we are better served by diversity than lack of it – even in terms of a buildings microbe population – definitely counter intuitive to the current generation of hospital administrators and their architectural specifications …. from smart planet

What if architects designed structures with not only people in mind, but also the microbes that inhabit buildings, too? Is there a way to design environments, namely in the healthcare arena, that are conducive to keeping a beneficial mix of microbes thriving, while also remaining clean? How can biologists and ecologists contribute to the field of sustainable design, by studying and helping to develop new materials?

These are all questions that are central to the research ofJessica Green, an ecologist, engineer, and professor at both the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute. She’s also a TED 2011 Senior Fellow; last year, she was a TED Fellow. Green co-founded and directs a lab at the University of Oregon known as the Biology and the Built Environment (BioBE) Center, where she and her colleagues are exploring a new area of design that they call the “architecture-biology interface.” They are currently looking to partner with healthcare facility designers to measure and study how design and microbes affect each other, the environment (both natural and man-made), and humans, of course. She recently presented her work at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, Scotland in July. The curators of TED just released the video of Green’s TED Talk to the public on August 6. The clip includes the debut of a visualization from scientific animation designers XVIVO that they created with Green to help viewers understand how microbes enter, exist, and interact in the human world from a microbe’s point of view.

Here’s the video of Jessica Green’s TED Talk, including the microbe animation:

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