MIT Faculty and Researchers
Carbon>Building proposes the creation of a fabrication laboratory (Fab Lab) that gathers scientists, engineers, and architects from academia and industry, to accelerate the development of all-carbon buildings. Learning from the brilliant composites sector, we will seek to attain a new lightweight, thin-skin, energy-efficient, benign building paradigm, looking to re-orient the organic legacy (coal, oil, and gas) from primary use as fuel to establishing a carbon ontology. Mindful of the projected doubling of buildings globally by 2050, where human-made mass already exceeds biomass, and where current mineral/metal buildings consume some 40% of total energy production, this seems not only a wise use of these billion-ton commodities, but a vital one. There is no more remarkable material than carbon — structural, electrical, thermal — so we propose exploiting its poly-functionality as an almost sentient second skin. Methane pyrolysis and coal pyrolysis, with the prospect of supplementing hydrogen as a clean fuel, hold great promise.