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use life-friendly chemistry

: use chemistry that supports life processes

biochemistry, the process of assembling molecules to achieve certain functions, is the backbone of life. essential to everything from digestion, communication, color creation, and even thought, the chemistry of life almost always occurs in or near organisms`own bodies. as such, it must not harm the "chemist". while life does create toxins, these are produced selectively, locally, on-demand, and only in quantities needed. this limitation helps ensure that when assessed holistically, chemistry, as practiced by life, creates conditions conducive to life. 
do chemistry in water
: use water as solvent

water is the cheapest, safest, and most non-toxic solvent for chemical reactions. a solvent is a liquid that contains dissolved substances known as solutes. a mixture of a solvent and a solute is called a solution. water is a good solvent because it bonds easily with any molecule that has an electrical charge. it does not matter if the substance has a full charge (ion) or a partial charge (polar molecule). life does this primarily through the use of membranes that are polar on the outside and non-polar on the inside. the polar exterior allows them to mix well with water while the non-polar interior provides safe haven for non-polar parts of complex compounds such as proteins and enzymes.

white-tailed deer
odocoileus virgianus

genus: odocoileus 
family: cervidae 
order: artiodactyla
class: mammalia
phylum: chordata
kingdom: animalia 

the white-talied deer, like most vertebrates, grow two sets of strong enamel coated teeth using water-based chemistry. 98% of enamel consists of mineral, while the rest is water and organic material. this coating is very strong, which makes the teeth last for a long time, which is why they are used commonly in fossil identification.

bler water-based paint

pinturas bler de colombia s.a. is producing biodegradable water-based paint that don`t contain chromium, lead or mercury. they also prevent allergies, toxicity and don`t emit strong odors.

breakdown products into benign constituents
: use chemistry in which decomposition results in no harmful by-products

although nature`s chemistry is not exclusively benign, the toxins it produces are for specific purposes which are synthesized selectively, locally, on-demand  and only in the quantities needed. this toxins break down into benign, reusable substances, once they have served their function and released into the environment.  

golden poison frog/golden dart frog
phyllobates terribilis 

genus: phyllobates 
family: dendronatidae 
order: anura
class: amphibia
phylum: chordata
kingdom: animalia 

the golden poison frog is a a poison dart frog endemic to the pacific coast of colombia. its skin is drenched in alkaloid poison which prevents nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction, which can lead to heart failure or fibrillation. they use this poison as a self-defense mechanism, storing the poison in skin glands, which make them taste vile to predators. although it does not readily deteriorate, when it does, it is nor harmful.  

btc (earth compacted blocks)


companies like protierra, tierra y cal and tierra a la vista, produce compacted earth blocks, paint and mortar based on earth, creating degradable materials. the color may vary depending on the minerals present in each sand, and it can be mixed with many organic materials to create different textures.
build selectively with a small subset of elements
: assemble relatively few elements in elegant ways

nature`s chemical reagents are more complex with a limited range of reactivity allowing them to do their job efficiently and effectively in relatively small quantities. they make do with locally available materials usually made up of a relatively small subset of elements from the periodic table, namely carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. these elements give rise to the incredible diversity of life forms, structures, and material properties. elements, such as mercury or lead, are seldom found in nature`s chemistry labs, though these elements are used all too frequently in industrial products and processes.
postulose ark/piangua
anadara tuberculosa 

genus: anadara
family: arcidae 
order: arcoida
class: bivalvia
phylum: mollusca
kingdom: animalia 

the piangua shell is composed of two calcareous valves made of calcium carbonate precipitated into an organic matrix secreted by a part of the body know as the mantle. the blood of a mollusk is rich in a liquid form of calcium. the mantle concentrates the calcium in areas where it can separate out from the blood, forming calcium carbonate crystals. the mantle deposits sheets of crystal in varying thicknesses. the individual crystals in each layer vary in shape and orientation. the outermost layer is composed of a horny organic substance which forms the colored layer on the shell. 

mesa de los santos peasant market

architect: gernot minke
environmental consultant: 
location: mesa de los santos (santander), colombia

the mesa de los santos market is an over 10 thousand squared feet, 160 locals, were there was not used one inch of steel, a grain of cement or a brick. the project is exclusively crude earth modeled to produce a living market and seismic resistant wood columns.

the green roofs, seen at a distance, are structured arcs were native plants are grown for the coolness they attract. if there is a lot of humidity in the air, the plants absorbe it, if it`s to dry, they release it. when the climate is hot, under the roofs is cold, when it`s cold, inside is warm.

the floors are made of pink slab, taken by hand with a chisel and club and placed by layers. it`s a beautiful, durable anti-slip material. 

the market has meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, deserts and local crafts stores, restaurants, hairdresser and church.

the church dome is made of mud, coated inside and out with cow dung, to achieve appropriate plasticity and impermeability.

the lamps were made of hoes, shovels and other old tools donated by peasants.

the waste is treated in an ecological sewerage were 5.000 hindu plants (vetiver) transformed the served water and soaps into fertilizer.