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Urban Sequoia: Absorbing Carbon Through New Materials and Technologies With Yasemin Kologlu

About this event

Urban Sequoia: Absorbing Carbon Through New Materials and Technologies With Yasemin Kologlu

What if buildings could act like trees — capturing carbon, purifying the air, and regenerating the environment? The need to transform the built environment is clear. The building sector generates nearly 40% of carbon emissions, and studies by the United Nations predict that another 230 billion square meters of building stock will be needed by 2060.

Imagine if new buildings could help heal the planet. A+Award-winning SOM has developed a prototype — the first step to achieving this goal — that can be built today. Taking inspiration from natural processes and ecosystems, Urban Sequoia envisions forests of buildings that create a new carbon-removal economy and a resilient future for cities. The design goes beyond net-zero to net-negative by integrating carbon capture technologies and biomaterials, which together in one building can sequester as much as 1,000 tons of carbon per year, equivalent to 48,500 trees.

During this talk, you’ll learn: 

  • How the built environment can help solve the climate crisis by actively removing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • About emerging technologies and new materials that can sequester carbon.
  • How to integrate these new technologies and materials into one building, and ultimately into an entire city, to sequester more carbon than each technology or material could achieve on its own.

About Yasemin Kologlu

A recognized leader in sustainable design and construction, Yasemin Kologlu plays a central role in SOM’s efforts to transform architectural practice and lead the building industry’s response to the climate crisis. She adopts a forward-thinking and holistic approach to design that integrates well-being, environmental design, and technology, and she advocates for equality, diversity, and innovation in design.

Yasemin joined the firm in 2004 and has since worked in SOM’s London and New York studios. Her portfolio of completed projects is diverse, spanning from innovative headquarters and near-zero-energy offices to net-zero-carbon residential and mixed-use developments. Among her most notable works is Urban Sequoia, a radical proposal for a carbon-sequestering high-rise, as well as the United States Census Bureau headquarters in Maryland, the JTI headquarters and United Nations campus in Geneva, and Karlatornet in Gothenburg—the tallest residential tower in Scandinavia.

About Hannah Feniak

Hannah Feniak is Architizer’s Architecture Editor. When she’s not leading our talented team of writers and interviewing the industry’s most innovative designers, Hannah is likely to be found exploring the latest exhibition openings. A trained art historian and educator with a focus on architecture and urbanism, Hannah holds degrees from McGill University in Montreal and NYU.

Hosted by

  • Team member
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    Hannah Feniak Architecture Editor @ Architizer

  • Guest speaker
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    Yasemin Kologlu

Architizer and Material Bank

The Design Your Impact Series is brought to you by Material Bank in Collaboration with Architizer.