Friday, May 16, 2014

Bubbles - Breathe Clean Air!

IAnD Exclusive

Design Impact Special

By Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy Orproject

Bubbles -controlling air pollution by Ar. Rajat Sodhi.
Sectional View

As air pollution worsens across many cities in India, New Delhi-based architect Rajat Sodhi and his teammates at Orproject propose a controlled-environment bio-dome concept to tackle the problem…

When Ar. Rajat Sodhi talks about his research on air pollution in Delhi, India; Beijing, China; and London, UK, where his other teammates are stationed, he informs that Delhi is the worst hit. He laments the atmospheric pollution that we live in and encourages us to strive for a cleaner healthier environment.

Bubbles -controlling air pollution by Ar. Rajat Sodhi.
Bubbles - the bio-dome

Rajat proposes a simple infrastructural solution, biomimetic in nature – his idea (not new; as it was famously proposed by Ar. Buckminster-Fuller for New York decades ago but remains too unrealistic to realize) to cover parts of a city by a dome, in which the level of pollution can be controlled.

Bubbles -controlling air pollution by Ar. Rajat Sodhi.

Various scenarios

Picture this: a large urban plot has commercial real estate built along its edges. The area between those buildings is enclosed by a bubble (whose skin is designed after the labyrinthine network of veins in a leaf), which houses a botanical park. The air inside the park is filtered and clean and the temperature is controlled so that plants from all over India and the world can grow in the park throughout the year. People can come and relax, practice sports, enjoy the landscape or dine and shop in a healthy environment.

Bubbles -controlling air pollution by Ar. Rajat Sodhi.

Although it sounds fairly simple, the concept, which is workable, needs to be resolved in terms of its economic viability and construction costs.  Rajat seems to have a solution to this: together with a specialist company from UK, his company, Orproject has developed a new ecologic construction system, which can be built at a very low cost. “For the first time, we are now able to actually construct a large roof surface at a reasonable cost”, he says.

Bubbles -controlling air pollution by Ar. Rajat Sodhi.
3D projection

Such a bio-dome, he envisages could be a rave with tourists and could be equally popular for smaller spaces such as playgrounds, school yards or the atrium of an office building or shopping mall.

Bubbles -controlling air pollution by Ar. Rajat Sodhi.


A commercially viable solution that Orproject proposes is that the buildings surrounding such bio-domes could be connected to the clean-air environment; thereby granting them a high real estate value. Apartments, offices and retail, sports or medical facilities, etc., could make specific use of the healthy air and in turn pay for the construction of the central roof; also, a local government can offer the land to a real-estate company in exchange for providing the park to its people, and the like and the construction of the project can become beneficial for the industry as well as the citizens.

The prototype is currently being tested in Beijing, which is quite often plagued with dangerous levels of smog.

For more information please visit Orproject.  

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