Architect Daniel Libeskind is a famous designer of Polish-Jewish descent, who's known for his structures all over the world. In Germany, he was tasked with the honor of designing the Jewish Museum Berlin, where citizens and tourists go to learn about the Holocaust and visit in remembrance. Libeskind, however, also often takes on projects of a more practical nature, though he incorporates his perspective on life into all his work.
“Even as my studio is often called upon to design skyscrapers these days, I continue to love to build homes, the basic unit of human life,” Libeskind told Inhabitat.
In 2015 Libeskind released his plans for a metallic, zig-zagged shaped building for central Berlin. The asymmetric windows were planned to take advantage of natural light, and the exterior of the building was also designed to be pleasing to the eye. The facade is etched with an eye-catching geometric pattern. But the real draw of the building's outside walls is the material that's been used to build them: ceramic tiles, which consume carbon dioxide and then release oxygen back into the air.
The building, which is called Sapphire, completed construction last year. The facade is covered in 3,600 Casalgrande Padana tile. According to the makers of the tile, the titanium dioxide contained in the coating makes it "self-cleaning." Sunlight hitting its surface activates oxygen, which decomposes any dirt or grim accrued on the surface. A light downpour washes away the remains. They're often marketed as "anti-bacterial" tiles, and are lauded as an environmentally friendly material that is good for building and maintenance in an urban environment. The tiles essentially absorb poor air quality and turn it into breathable air, cleaning the very area around them just by existing.
The Sapphire is accepting applicants for residents. It looks like a pretty gorgeous place to live, but even people just in the surrounding neighborhood will be benefitting from it to some degree, even if it's just when it comes to the air they breathe.