‘Giant bubbles’ could protect Beijing from smog

Group of architects proposes bubbles be built over parks in Beijing to provide ‘clean and fresh air’ for city residents

A project to build ‘giant bubbles’ over parks in Beijing has become the latest proposal to shield residents from high levels of air pollution in the city.

The smog-free domes have been proposed under the project name ‘Bubbles’ by a group of architects at Orproject and would control the temperature and humidity of the botanical gardens throughout the year.

The bubbles would be designed to protect Beijing's parks against smog

The bubbles would be designed to protect Beijing’s parks against smog

The design, which includes a canopy based on veins in leaves or butterfly wings, is based on biomimetic architecture – normally used in lightweight environmental structures. The air inside the bubbles would be filtered in order to provide an area of ‘clean and fresh air’ for the people of Beijing.

Unlike past ‘conceptual’ designs for cities such as New York, Orproject believes its proposed roof system is both lightweight and affordable — costing HK$7,750 (£400) per square metre with solar panels.

A description of the project on the Orproject website reads: “The proposed roof system can be used to enclose an urban botanical garden, but the system also lends itself for many other applications at various scales: It can be used to economically enclose playgrounds or school yards, it can form the atrium of an office building or shopping mall, or it can be used to cover the gardens of an apartment complex.”


Air pollution in China and particularly its larger cities has been well-documented over recent years, with dust, coal-fired power station emissions and traffic pollution all contributing to the problem.

In December 2013, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy travelled to Beijing to stage talks between the United States and China on greater co-operation to address air pollution (see story).


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