When it comes to sustainable design, Mother Nature might be our best teacher.
Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut recently unveiled blueprints for a carbon neutral housing complex that could house over 1,000 families in Part-au-Prince, Haiti. His inspiration? Coral reefs.
The coral reef project features a plug-in wave-like matrix with 1,000 modular units that can be extended and built upon as needed, according to Callebaut's website. Callebaut describes the structure as ongoing origami. The entire matrix will be built on top of an artificial pier that absorbs vibrations in the event of a future earthquake.
Most impressive are the project’s eco-friendly attributes that make the entire complex carbon neutral. The roof of each module acts as a suspended organic garden; families can cultivate their own food and minimize household waste by composting. An interior canyon that flows between the two rows of housing will provide a tropical ecosystem for local flora and fauna.
On-site aquaculture farms and grey water recycling plants will filter run-off water before sending it back into the sea. Sufficient power to run the entire complex will be generated through various renewable energy sources that utilize surrounding natural resources. These include vertical axis wind turbines, solar panels, marine hydro-turbines and sea thermal energy conversion units under the pier.
This is neither the first nor the last time Vincent Callebaut draws his inspiration from Mother Nature. Past designs have drawn from the architecture of algae, dragonflies, butterflies and lilypads, to name just a few.