Airborne pollution is one of the major challenges facing the world’s urban areas and buildings are generally seen to contribute to the problem. However, two recent buildings have found innovative ways of incorporating titanium dioxide in their building technology, and may offer hope in alleviating air pollution.

Activated by sunlight, the facades of the Torre de Especialidades hospital in Mexico City and Italy’s World Fair Pavilion in Milan produce chemical reactions that help improve air quality in their immediate surroundings.

Torre de Especialidades is clad in mass-produced titanium dioxide coated tiles, created by Berlin-based architecture firm Elegant Embellishments, that helps to turn smog into less harmful substances such as water and calcium nitrate.

The Italian World Fair Pavilion uses Tiocem in its construction and aesthetically impressive facade. A type of photocatalytic concrete that contains titanium dioxide, Tiocem’s effectiveness has been validated by European Union studies. It is a versatile material that can used in cladding, roof tiles, paving, road construction and in highway sound barriers.

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