Breathe Wall, Ripple Architecture Studio
Developed by Charlottesville, Va.–based Ripple Architecture Studio, Breathe Wall utilizes the naturally dense microstructure of bamboo to help with the adsorption of volatile organic compounds and toxins that are prevalent in the air. The bamboo is cut at an angle to expose a larger section of its end grain and then charred in a kiln (using the traditional Japanese shou sugi ban technique) to create a more porous, adsorptive surface. Various lengths of these stalks are then arranged into an undulating form, which can be installed as a retrofit attachment to freeway sound barriers. The studio previously experimented with bamboo tubes arranged horizontally, but found that the current prototype—its third—required less raw-material processing. The studio hopes the product will create manufacturing and agricultural jobs in the United States.