Architect Vincent Callebaut’s latest project balances public galleries, meeting rooms and gathering spaces over canals and abandoned railroad tracks in the 19th Parisian district. The prototype uses green technologies and techniques but is more than just an example of sustainable design. Callebaut’s ‘Anti Smog: An Innovation Centre in Sustainable Development’ is a catalyst for cleaner air.

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The project centers on the “Solar Drop”, an elliptical structure perched over the unused railroad tracks. The exterior is fitted with 250 square meters of solar photovoltaic panels and coated in titanium dioxide (TiO2). The PV system produces on-site electrical energy while the TiO2 coating works with ultraviolet radiation to interact with particulates in the air, break down organics and reduce air born pollutants and contaminants.

Callebaut describes the process as an intention to “absorb and recycle by photo-catalytic effect the cloud of harmful gases (Smog) from the intense traffic near Paris.” Under the smog eating exterior, the building houses public spaces with a central courtyard and natural lagoon, a place Callebaut envisions for teaching opportunities about urban ecology and renewable energy. The Solar Drop also harvests rainwater from green space on the roof for use inside the building.

The “Wind Tower”, the second component to Anti Smog, spirals into the air with a helical shape and a façade that alternates between vegetation and embedded Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) to capture the prevailing urban winds. Ramps lead visitors through museum space and out to a rooftop garden with views across Paris.

Anti Smog offers an innovative urban space that is engaging, powered by renewable energy and has a positive impact on the surrounding urban environment. In the words of the designer it is ‘”a self-sufficient dépolluante“. Oui indeed.