A review and short summary of ideas proposed at the TEDx talk in Vienna by Ar. ChenthurRaaghav from AplusR Architects, Coimbatore.The original video is embedded in the end.

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Can buildings and cities become intelligent?

A question that all architects have pondered over, while grappling the effects of climate change. Studying sustainability tells us how harmful any kind of architecture is to the environment. Creating net- zero energy buildings also harms the environment, since it is a few square meters of area consumed by concrete (or any building material for that matter) rather than oxygen producing and air cleaning greenery.

Climate change is the apocalypse we are facing currently, and no other issue is as grave as this one. It’s a slow death, an end to the world we are knowingly approaching. We are continuously and unapologetically causing pollution and environmental evils like global warming through our daily mundane activities.

Its high time architects ask themselves, how can they contribute? And this question was not only asked, but intelligently answered by Ar. ChenthurRaaghav at TEDx Vienna.

Riding the technological wave with immense research and data, He has listed the following uses of Graphene in architecture.

Graphene in Architecture- A Summary of research done by Ar. Chenthur Raghaav - Sheet2

Graphene is a thin layer of graphite that can be used to create lightweight, thin, and flexible electric/photonic circuits and solar cells. This is the thinnest material known and is revolutionising multiple industries, including architecture.

Eradicating environmental evils.

Urban noise.

Using prototypes to study not only how humans perceive noise, but also how architecture can be shaped according to urban noise, the research details the need and the way to create perfect public spaces receptive to urban noise pollution.

Air pollution.

As mentioned in the video, air pollution causes 7 million to 9 million deaths every year.

The architectural solution? Facades that can clean the city.

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Bionic Bird- Competition entry ©www.architectraaghav.com

The facade, coated with titanium dioxide on steel plates uses UV rays from the sun to convert toxic nitrogen dioxide from the air to soluble nitrates through a photocatalytic reaction, removing 97% of smog.

Programming Matter

According to Ar. Chenthur, Material is the protagonist. And the material in focus here is Graphene.

Graphene is used to create a hypersensitive membrane which is ultra thin, flexible and translucent and can send and receive information. Revolutionizing the idea of construction materials in architecture completely, Ar. Chenthur proposes graphene as an alternative material that can collect and transfer data, making architecture interactive. Interaction makes the building material and information layer, one, and with that architecture collaborates and amalgamates with nature, its context, and user.

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Prototype created by the research team at http://architectraaghav.com/, this model shows how graphene can be used as a building material eradicating the need for heavy materials and wires, while collecting and transmitting important data and being responsive to the user.

Proposing the swap of static heavy walls with responsive intelligent walls, programming facades using proximity sensors will allow us to collect myriads of data such as climate analysis, traffic analysis, etc. This data is of importance not just to the immediate users but a lot of professionals.

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Another prototype by the firm using proximity sensors in the building material. ©www.architectraaghav.com

Transferring of energy.

Imagine neighbourhoods where energy conserved by a building can be transferred to the building next door. This is practically possible since energy collected by photovoltaic cells can be transferred using graphene.

Passive Architecture

This is Passive architecture. The future of architecture and urban design is Climate responsive buildings.

In association with Tecnalia and IAAC Barcelona, ArChenthur introduces Digital fabrication in this video. Digital Fabrication helps in creating a dialogue between material intelligence and digital fabrication.

ExampleGeometry born out of data.

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The geometry and design blocks summer sun and allows winter sun, reducing energy consumption by 60% and hence, the overall carbon footprint.

ExampleDigital Adobe

Graphene in Architecture- A Summary of research done by Ar. Chenthur Raghaav - Sheet7

3D printing using mud/earth for passive architecture can help in creating climate responsive and contextual designs.

Is this just theory?

The technological advancements seen today are ever-growing, but not many architects try to apply it to architecture. This research can be used in the construction industry to create sustainable and environmentally responsive buildings and cities that become a part of an ecosystem instead of destroying them.

Experiment in India- Responsive urban core.

SAASI Creative school of architecture and the research team comprising Raj Dheepan, Sharieff and Chenthur Raaghav, designed a smart city with autonomous solar powered pods and pedestrianised streets that collect data, allowing buildings to start cleaning cities, and public spaces to adapt and expand according to the user flow. The core itself acts as a catalyst for other nodes in the entire urban area.

This is the intelligent and responsive urban future the world needs. Cities that not only adapt to urban population influx and environmental pollution but constantly collect information and mitigate pollution altogether.

The experiments and prototypes proposed by Ar. Chenthur in his TEDx Talk are revolutionary and urgently required, and need to be normalized and practiced in everyday architecture.

Here is a link to the original video.


An Architect, a writer, a traveler, a photographer and much more, Shivani Chaudhary is, among all, an Architectural Journalist, trying to bridge the gap between the architectural community and the world. With a desire to end career stereotypes, she hopes to inspire young architects to explore their creativity and deviate from mainstream architectural practice.

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