The researchers’ eco-friendly bricks are made of soil, cement, charcoal and organic luffa fibres — better known as loofah, the plant commonly used for bath sponges.
Another key ingredient is air. The bricks, named “Green Charcoal”, contain more air pockets than a standard concrete block, making them up to 20 times more porous.
These air bubbles, created by natural gaps in the loofah’s fibrous network, are important because they enable the bricks to harbour animal and plant life.
They also have a benefit for the humans who inhabit a Green Charcoal building. The project’s leads, Shreyas More and Meenal Sutaria, say the pores “act as thousands of tiny water tanks” to reduce the bricks’ temperature, cooling interior environments.
“This is aimed at creating a breathing state of architecture to ensure increased biodiversity in cities while providing healthy urban solutions for people,” said More.