During this academic year 2019-2020, multidisciplinary teams formed by IAAC’s Master in Advanced Architecture students, biology students from the University of Lorraine, and business and entrepreneur students from the University of Vienna, have been working together with the aim of creating different intelligent living design solutions for the cities of the future. During this time, 5 interdisciplinary start-up groups (composed by 2 students from each academic institution) have been formed and have developed 5 different Nature-Based Solutions addressing and investigating their biological systems, creating prototypes based on information technology and digital manufacturing, and developing comprehensive start-up business plans.

The start-up groups are the following:

Epiclay aims at making living green walls accessible to everyone. Consisting of a modular solution drawn on a special material that incorporates a plant mixture, it will fight air pollution, the urban heat island effect, while boosting urban biodiversity. More info at http://epiclay.eu

Worm Generation main objective is to use mealworm farms to eliminate the amount of styrofoam, which today is the 5th most hazardous, non-biodegradable waste that contaminates our environment.

AeroSQAIR aims to improve life quality in cities by reintegrating nature into urban infrastructure. With their biotech Nature-Based Solution, they aim at improving underground air quality in subways. The secret? Moss, as it binds fine dust and heavy metals. More info at Facebook and Instagram accounts @aeroSQAIR

C:aire is working towards air purification through biological filtration. They are building a filter that eliminates unhealthy particles in the air with the help of bacteria, in an efficient and sustainable way. More info at www.caire-solutions.com and Facebook and Instagram accounts @we.caire

Play Jungle is a startup focusing on creating play spaces and play equipment with nature-based materials, educating children about ecosystems and increasing biodiversity in urban environments, in order to reconnect people with nature.

At the end of the second semester, the 5 start-ups have participated in a Final Pitch where they have defended their projects before an international jury of well-established investors. Epiclay was the first selected start-up by the jury and will participate in the Accelerator Programme in Copenhagen next September 2020. At the Accelerator Programme, organized by City Facilitators and Bloxhub, the start-up will receive an intensive set of activities with the aim of advising and accompanying them in their journey of developing their NBS idea and bringing their product to the market. The detailed information about the Accelerator Programme can be found here.

Furthermore, all the BUILDs start-ups are making progress with the development of their business idea and are participating in several international contests and accelerator activities. For instance, both Epiclay and C:aire won the first and second place, respectively, of the 2020 Entrepreneurship Avenue Conference Awards, consisting on important monetary prizes and coaching services. AeroSQAIR is also finalist at several contests (such as the Wien Energie Student Innovation Challenge or the Climate Launchpad 2020 program) and have been accepted to participate in the 6-months incubation programme “Re:Wien” from the Ökobusiness Wien & Impact Hub Vienna.

Meet some of the students here and stay tuned about their future success at BUILDs website and social media accounts!





MAA01 Digital Design for Living Structures is a Seminar organized as a part of the European project Building Urban Intelligent Living Design Solutions (BUILDs), co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

BUILDs is a project that aims at setting up a transdisciplinary cooperation programme among universities and businesses with the objective of developing new innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. It brings together students, teachers, researchers, and professionals from the fields of biology, design, and business, and provides them with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and connections to help them introduce to the market intelligent living solutions that address global urban challenges.