Hydroskin, a prototype hydroponic skin module, pushes building façades beyond their traditional use as a barrier between “in” and “out” and transforms them into multi-functional living, breathing objects.

Why Hydroskin? Utilizing rain harvesting, a living wall, louvers, and operable window systems, this sustainable skin employs a variety of “green” technologies that help to reduce the consumption of natural resources and curb the negative impacts of human involvement. The living skin reacts to the seasons, blocking light and heat while insulating the building in the summer and allowing light and heat the enter during the fall and winter, thereby reducing energy consumption.

What We Found and Why it Matters: Modularity of form was paramount for future replication and for a consistent aesthetic when installed on a building façade. The outward facing form mounts to a grid attached to an existing building façade. Within the form lie nutrient feeder tubes and a nutrient reservoir. Planters line cavities within the grid, allowing plants to receive the nutrients they need while being visible. The hydroponic form itself consists of layers of paint, resin, fiberglass, a gel coat, and a mold which conceal the façade’s functioning parts (air pumps, water pumps, grow mediums, vinyl tubing, and electrical components).

What’s Next? Virtual applications of the module on various façades demonstrate the feasibility of the module’s design. Hydroskin will be going into full production through a partnership with Metalwërks Architectural Plate Systems. Below are some videos of the casting process at Boose Aluminum Foundry:

And here is the finished form being combined at Metalwërks:

Who to contact for more information: Melanie De Cola