Biotechnology is changing architecture and urban design
Article Link: https://biodesignchallenge.org/themes/architecture
Living things provide considerable opportunities for re-envisioning our homes and cities. Architects are exploring areas that including new biodegradable materials created by microbes, self-sustaining materials, and novel functions for plants and algae within structures.
At the same time, living architecture presents novel ecological challenges, such as those associated with safely introducing new organisms and living materials into urban and rural environments.
Biodegradable building materials
HY-FI, THE LIVING
The bricks that make up these towers are made from cornstalks and mushroom roots that fuse together as the mushrooms feed on the stalks. The bricks are an example of a product with a circular lifecycle. They begin in the soil as plant matter and fungus, are made into bricks, and then biodegrade when returned the soil, providing nutrients to the next generation of plants.
Organisms as buildings
ROOT BRIDGES OF MEGHALAYA
The living suspension bridges in present-day Meghalaya, a state in northeast India, are the products of meticulous, multi-generational tree shaping. The bridges are handmade from the aerial roots of living banyan fig trees. This process can take up to fifteen years to complete, but the useful lifespan of the bridges is thought to be 500–600 years. Living bridges are naturally self-renewing and self-strengthening, as their component roots grow thicker over time.
Brickmaking today is highly pollutive. BioMASON has developed a technology that uses microorganisms to grow biocement-based construction material. This technology enables material to be grown on-site and adapt to the local environment. The units are mixed with microorganisms fed with an aqueous solution to harden into bricks.