3 Bio-solution semifinalists for Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2014.

3 Bio-solution semifinalists for Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2014.

Every community, regardless of social class, presents environmental problems which normally cost a fortune to repair. Water filtration for example, might be the globally acclaimed issue hard to address in many countries because of the time it takes to clean out a waterway or the means and methods utilized, which are expensive. Other important issues are energy sustainability in poor countries, air purification in high rise buildings or industrial areas and waste management as one of the most deseases carrying next to water filtration.

The Buckminster Fuller Institute, has a yearly challenge designed to award the best innovative design addressing sustainability issues, environmentally friendly approach and of course, a one of a kind statement for our future cities. The announced Semifinalist Challengers, lists a number of incredible projects from which a few caught my attention immediately:


As announced by Buckminster Fuller Institute, Eccosoftt is a finalist based on the following description:

Ecosoft is an emerging Singaopore and India-based social enterprise that is the first to develop decentralized, adaptable, chemical-free, cost-effective water systems that combine rainwater harvesting, wastewater recycling, groundwater replenishment and other technological innovations in Asia. Their systems are adaptable to both poor rural and prosperous urban contexts. They aim to revolutionize water systems throughout Asia and beyond, bring clean water to underserved communities and offer an inspiring model of social enterprise as an alternative to government or privately run water systems.”

Inside their website, various ecological techniques or systems are presented. Take a look at the Vermifiltration System, it is a bioremediation process designed to purify water using natural resources and ultra low energy consumption materials. Combining earthworms, microbes, bacteria and enzymes, this system mimics nature using these natural renewable resources calling it the “biological reactor technology”, a natural machine ready to process household sewage and liquid industrial waste of natural sources. Check out their other solutions here.viewer


This semifinalist system is an interesting idea for processing natural human and animal waste in order to obtain other organic materials for mechanical processes without the use of machines. The BFI presents them with the following description:

“Sistema Biobolsa provides farmers in Mexico, Central America and Haiti with an on-site waste-to-nutrient ecosystem: a biomimetic, modular advanced geo-membrane anaerobic biodigester that converts organic waste into biogas and fertilizer, increasing local capacity and resiliency and boosting health and livelihoods as it provides safe, non-toxic thermal, mechanical, and electrical generation not previously affordable to small farmers. Distributed through innovative micro-financing mechanisms and entrepreneurial capacity building, this project has great potential to boost sustainable farming globally.”

Check out the system through these next images.




This one is a beautiful project engaging ecology, architecture, landscape architecture and culture. Using these elements all together responds to the natural environment by providing risk reduction (reminiscent of the Super Storm Sandy in New York City), ecological regeneration and on shore resiliency.  Once again, BFI describes them as follows:

Living Breakwaters is a comprehensive design for coastal resiliency along the Northeastern Seaboard of the United States and beyond. This approach to climate change adaptation and flood mitigation includes the deployment of innovative, layered ecologically-engineered concrete underwater breakwaters, the strengthening of biodiversity and coastal habitats, the nurturing and resuscitation of fisheries, and deep community engagement through diverse partnerships and innovative educational programs.”

Enjoy this next video and diagrams to understand how this Living Breakwater works and how they engage with community and schools for the creation of this marvelous idea, suitable for many coastlines and the awareness of our climate changes.

livingbreakwaters 2 livingbreakwaters1

For more information on Bio-remediation, you can check out this guide by You Are The City:

So here are my three picks for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2014, make sure you look at previous year’s winners to have and idea of the what other type of projects are able to will this prize. Ecovative is 2013 winner with the design of the mycelium block, the replacement of foam packaging and much more, here.

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.