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Climate Action
Stewardship of Nature

Symbiotic Architecture for Environmental Justice

Symbiotic Architecture for Environmental Justice Sketch

In Philadelphia, soil and air pollution affects the most vulnerable, with children at a particularly elevated risk of health impacts. According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Black children represent +60% of cases of asthma exacerbation due to poor air quality. Plant and fungal root systems can trap pollutants, produce oxygen, sequester carbon, and absorb heavy metals while enhancing greenery. Laia Mogas-Soldevila, Assistant Professor at Weitzman School of Design, leads a transdisciplinary group of researchers employing living materials—composed of mycorrhize, a fungus that supports plant roots— to enhance environments in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. In addition to research, the community offers educational workshops, prototypes across scales, and site- and community-specific interventions.

The Symbiotic Architecture for Environmental Justice research community aims to develop robust biology, large-scale geometry, and fabrication techniques to enable the bioremediation of polluted sites. It couples data-based, site-specific selection for bioremediation; hyper-local farming and sourcing of materials; new symbiotic manufacturing; architectural design of bio-walls, -furniture, -playscapes; and biological remediation in polluted urban environments.

Project Type:
Current Communities
Symbiotic Architecture for Environmental Justice Sketch

(Image: Laia Mogas-Soldevila)

“We explore using mycelium as a living building material (LBM) in architecture to harness its air and soil bioremediation properties during its entire life cycle.” - Laia Mogas-Soldevila, Weitzman School of Design