Designing biodiverse Façade microbiomes

Christiane M. Herr, Yawen Duan

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With improved knowledge of the human microbiome and its interrelationship with biomes of the inhabited environment, architecture is able to address issues of healthy living with new types of design approaches. Previous research in the field has mostly addressed internal building environments, or sought to completely eradicate the growth of microbes such as moulds on building surfaces. Yet recent studies have shown that human health is closely interrelated with the health of various human microbiomes, such as the gut, skin, lungs etc, which in turn depend on exchanges with external microbial communities present in our environments. This study argues that architectural façade design implicitly creates potential reservoirs for microbial biodiversity and determines the likeliness of microbial growth through factors including material selection, sun and humidity exposure and response to local climate. As very little is known about the interplay of these factors in determining the microbiomes of our facades, we present first results of an empirical study on façade biomes, conducted in an urban environment in China. The paper outlines how results can inform façade design, working towards the integration of biology, building science, material science and architectural design to address the challenge of developing dense but healthy urban environments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationANZAScA 2020 - 54th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association
Subtitle of host publicationImaginable Futures: Design Thinking, and the Scientific Method
EditorsAli Ghaffarianhoseini, Amirhosein Ghaffarianhoseini, Nicola Naismith, Mahesh Babu Purushothaman, Dat Doan, Esther Aigwi, Funmi Rotimi, Nariman Ghodrati
PublisherArchitectural Science Association
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780992383572
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event54th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association, ANZAScA 2020 - Virtual, Online, New Zealand
Duration: 26 Nov 202027 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference of Architectural Science Association
ISSN (Electronic)2209-3850


Conference54th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association, ANZAScA 2020
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
CityVirtual, Online


  • China
  • Façade design
  • Health
  • Materials
  • Microbial community


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