Biotechnology and Architecture Lab

 

LATEST UPDATES

 


 

BIOTA LAB AT SUPERMATERIAL 2017

November 2016

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The next industrial revolution is upon us. The way we envisage, create and build our cities and landscapes has not faced such rapid change in decades. And materials are shaping the movement. View the SuperMaterial the online exhibition here.

Background information

Stronger, lighter, thinner and biodegradable properties are being discovered in materials that already exist, and in new laboratory-produced compounds. This new age of exploration is informing the supply and manufacture of products, and the design and construction of buildings and cities.

SuperMaterial is a major public exhibition by The Built Environment Trust celebrating …

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BIOTA LAB AT BIOFABRICATE 2016

November 2016

We are entering a new material Age. It is driven by creativity, sustainability, and environmental responsibility. We are beginning to build materials using living systems. Biofabrication, today imagines a world of material manufacture where future consumer products are designed and grown harnessing biological organisms. This is a new design paradigm centred on cultivating materials with living cells. Organisms such as yeast, bacteria, fungi, algae and mammalian cells are fermented, cultured and engineered to synthesise natures materials but with new functional and aesthetic properties.

BiotA Lab exhibits it’s research prototypes – ranging from ‘Bioconcrete’ to ‘Algae – laden hydrogels’ to Mycellium growing Filamentous network fabricated using robotic – extrusion.

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Bio-receptive MATERIALS – EPSRC FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECT

November 2015 – April 2016

Led by Professor Marcos Cruz, ‘Computational Seeding of Bio-Receptive Materials’ brings together architects, engineers and biologists to develop an innovative wall-panel system capable of growing microorganisms directly on its surface. The project utilises novel design engineering methods to improve façade performance through the implementation of a new type of biologically receptive concrete.

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WORKSHOP AT KEW GARDENS, WAKEHURST

November 2014

Master Research students visited the Millennium Seed bank at Kew gardens, Wakehurst. An interactive workshop was further organised, introducing basic lab – based spherification techniques with Algae.

BIOTA LAB AND C-BIOM.A GROUP CONJOINT CRITS AT IAAC BARCELONA

February 2015

Bartlett and IAAC Students get together in a cross-crit, presenting and discussing on the years work and different research methodologies adopted at both the Design schools.

Bio-receptive DESIGN: A NOVEL APPROACH TO BIODIGITAL MATERIALITY

June 2016

PUBLICATION – ARCHITECTURE RESEARCH QUARTERLY

The Emergence of Bio-receptive design is a new material phenomenon that is changing the environmental and biologically-integrated performativity of architecture.

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BIOTA LAB AT BIOFABRICATE 2015

November 2015

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Prof. Marcos Cruz and Richard Beckett present BiotA Lab at the Biofabricate 2015, while Prof. Cruz chaired a panel discussion.

B-pro show 2015

September 2015

MArch Architectural Design at the Bartlett display there year-long work at the yearly B-Pro show.

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LAB LAUNCH AND EXHIBITION AT THE BARTLETT

May 2015

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Bartlett celebrated the launch of a new series of Research Laboratories, directed by leading academics, the Labs form a new structure for specialist teaching and learning in the School’s March Architectural Design and March Urban Design programmes from Autumn 2015.

BIOTA LAB EXHIBIT AT ECOBUILD 2016

March 2016

BiotA Lab exhibited ‘Architecturally Fabricated’ prototypes from their Research, displaying a range of techniques and experimental lab-based approaches adopted within the research lab. The team – composed of researchers from diverse backgrounds visually showcases interdisciplinary research within architectural and biological backgrounds.

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BiotA Lab and C-Biom.a group conjoint crits at iaac barcelona

February 2016

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Read on to view more project photographs from this years cross-crits: BiotA Lab and C-Biom.A Group at the IAAC in Barcelona.

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ABOUT US

BiotA Lab is an innovative design research platform that merges architecture, biology and engineering. It is based at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, one of the world leading research universities. The lab explores new modes of simulation and production in architecture, as well as advances in the field of synthetic biology, biotechnology, molecular engineering and material sciences, and how these subjects are leading towards an ever-increasing multidisciplinary approach to environmental design. The result is a new sense of materiality, new hybrid technologies and unprecedented living forms that are redefining not only building design, but our whole built environment.

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SYN.DE.BIO CONFERENCE AT THE BARTLETT

June 2014

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LATEST RESEARCH PROJECTS


 

HYDROGEL SCAFFOLDS FOR ALGAE PROLIFERATION

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The project investigates how 3D bio-printing with hydrogels can produce bio-Receptive architectural scaffolds for a pavilion structure in Camley street Nature Park, London. Hydrogel is a responsive and dynamic material that can autonomously absorb and retain water, being bio-compatible and non-toxic to algae cells. As a synthetic substance, it can be manipulated based on its chemical composition and 3-dimensionalised by means of robotic fabrication that allows to create highly complex, yet also controlled geometries. 3D bio-printing of algae encapsulated hydrogels can therefore offer new application of possibilities and opportunities for architectural design following a top-down developmental approach wherein the properties, capabilities and limitations of  the material are what inform the resultant component complexities.

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BIORECEPTIVE CLAYCRETE

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Following a rigorous material study of a mixed clay and concrete composite (claycrete), the project focused on developing a wall system that promotes the growth of a varied plant ecology on its surface. The advantage of such mix is to define a material condition that is both structural and resistant to age, as well as porous and this bioreceptive for growth. Substantial wind analysis via computational fluid dynamic software allowed to define the geometric rules of the building tectonic which was remodelled according to its varied environmental performance.

IMPURE AESTHETICS OF BIO-RECEPTIVE MARBLE AND CORK COMPOSITES

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The building project focuses on the design of a contemporary grotto for biological growth that promotes a special sense of intimacy through its acoustic qualities in the landscape. The overall 3-dimensionality and depth of the surface with its tectonic conglobulation is conceived in relation to the aesthetics of marble (pure) and cork (impure).

 

BIO-RESPONSIVE BLOOM

Project designed around varying Concrete porosity mixtures, resulting from material testing with various ratios of aggregate, cement and water. It aims to create a scaffold that is able to host various bio-receptive materials in its porous interstices, ultimately providing surface area from microbial growth. The resulting components are not only lightweight but also permeable enough to allow the growth of mosses and other micro organisms to proliferate. The complex geometry of the components is determined by climatic factors, such as sun orientation, dominating wind flows and rainfalls, all of which are computationally generated.

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FILATURES

The design of a Bio-recepive facade screen evolves from an iterative design and manufacturing process in which data is generated both from scanning growth systems (in nature), as well as computationally – driven in-lab simulations. The resulting filamentous geometry creates an intricate ‘veil’ for a pavilion design. It is in parts colonised by mycelium as a means to strengthen and bind different surface areas of the facade. Careful observation of different mycelium growth pattern leads to the design of a new type of filamentous host in which mycelium can proliferate along the geometric interstices and orifices of the material. This triggers a novel morphological interaction between ‘nature’ and ‘artifice’ that is simultaneously bio-mimetic and bio-receptive.

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BIO-receptive tilebricks

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An investigation into double-sided, glazed, structural ceramic cladding. The tilebricks are made of clay with an appropriate pH and porosity level to absorb and retain water for moss growth. The clay has added soda specifically located areas to create differentiated glazed surfaces when the components are fired in a kiln. Areas of glazed and non-glazed areas define zones that inhibit or enhance the bio-colonisation of the component’s complex surface.

BIO-RECEPTIVE CALCAREOUS COMPOSITES

 

The project aims to create a bio-fabrication system that utilises Magnesium Phosphate Cement-based concrete to potentiate bioreceptivity on the outer surface of the building.

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HYDROGEL SCAFFOLDS


This project explores the idea of ‘Bio-printing’ with gel-based materials for application in Architecture. The research discusses and explores the role of material ecologies on the emerging engineering paradigm of Biochemistry. Driven through Lab experiments performed with Hydrogels, and computational design algorithms giving shape to the materials geometry. The Hydrogel membrane is then used to encapsulate algae cells through a technique of immobilisation or cell encapsulation, allowing the microbes to perform photosynthesis to multiply and expand. Further, speculating the harvesting of the grown algae for various purposes.   

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MULTI-SCALED ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES GOVERNING GROWTH

environmental-variables-1This project explores how the analysis and design of multi-scale environmental conditions of building surfaces can evolve strategies to develop and augment conditions suitable for the growth of bryophytes.

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