A structure sheltering the growing plants. (Image by Rohan Goel) 

Living Systems 

Living Systems 

The Living Systems group investigates various active architectural systems that can be integrated on or within the building envelope. We aim to answer questions such as: Can structures respond to their surroundings? Can they think and evolve? In what ways can they give back to the environment? This is achieved by examining the benefits, limitations, and the integration potential of biotic systems in architecture that can range from energy-efficient green infrastructure to self-cleaning materials to building blocks and technology that may improve the air quality.  

Humankind is at the brink of crossing the climate danger threshold, and living architectural systems might prove to be one of the most feasible solutions to address and mitigate climate change. This gives us an opportunity to re-think and redefine architecture in terms of its adaptability and contribution to the environment. Thus, this is a multidisciplinary research group dedicated to developing a performing biological and mechanical “close to life” built environment that can have a positive environmental impact.  

An agglomeration of various Carbon Sequestration (CS) techniques including the prototype of a microalgae façade, a vertical greenery system and smog free tower in an urban space. (Images by Integrated Design Research Lab (UNC Charlotte), Anurag Rathi, Daan Roosegarde (www.studioroosegaarde.net)) 

Building-integrated Carbon Sequestration (CS) techniques 

Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. While global warming is occurring at a rate faster than any point in history, the construction industry is advancing towards net zero and net positive buildings. However, it is imperative to revert the existing degenerative consequences of human activity. One of the promising approaches towards this goal is Carbon Sequestration (CS). This project focuses on identifying CS techniques and on analyzing their integration potential in architectural practice based on scale, usability, and maintenance.

An accessible extensive green roof planted on the CULC (Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons) building of Georgia Tech campus enhancing the urban green space. (Photo by Rob Felt) 

Thermal Performance Evaluation of Green Roofs

Green roofs are often identified as energy-efficient techniques which, through their various mechanisms, contribute to a comfortable indoor environment. A significant amount of research has been carried out to investigate the thermal performance of a green roof under various climatic conditions and building parameters. These studies displayed quite encouraging results of energy savings; but a simulation study showed contrasting results when compared with these findings. This project thus explores green roof energy performance. It argues that their deployment should not be based solely on their energy savings features but should include other benefits, such as improved air quality, carbon sequestration potential, storm-water management, and reduction of urban heat islands.


Jayati Chhabra's headshot

Jayati Chhabra

M.S. Student
Deva Shree Saini's headshot

Deva Shree Saini 

M.S. Student
Tarek Rakha's headshot

Tarek Rakha

Ph.D., Assistant Professor


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