Daylight in Buildings

Coral Glow


Bianca Abad, Jayati Chhabra, Bianca Abad Campos


Georgia Institute of Technology


United States

Coral Glow

Project Description

Mosquito Bay, one of 3 bio-luminescent bays in Puerto Rico, was officially declared the brightest in the world by Guinness Book of World Records in 2008. In 2017, though, Hurricane Maria caused much destruction on the island, and disrupted the delicate balance of the bay: Mosquito Bay went dark. To everyone's surprise, the bio-luminescent bay not only recovered, but it came back brighter than it ever was in the past. Puerto Rico is one of the most vulnerable places to the impacts of climate change under U.S. jurisdiction, with more than half of its population residing quite close to sea level. Projected climate changes to the island include intensified storms, rising land temperatures, landslides, significant beach erosion and a decrease in rainfall. This means that the already hot and humid climate will only get harsher, which means the priority is to limit excess sun exposure and glare. Buildings in hazard zones (such as near the shore) need to be resilient to withstand what is to come. A thin-shell concrete structure (with curved walls that steer incoming wind and water surges) would be strong enough to withstand the oncoming storms, and in the concrete's mixture, aggregates with photo-luminescent pigments can be introduced which emit light that is grid-free and green, which will come in handy during possible power outages such as those that have previously occurred in the island. Additionally, biomimetic extrusions that form part of the concrete shell (thus, also resilient) provide self-shaded openings throughout the building that regulate light and limit glare. These resilient structures could house many different types of programs, as well as serve as vertical shelter when needed; a facade implementing "bio-luminescent" aggregates could act as a beacon in the worst of times if the power goes out, letting people know where to go.