The research explores the possibilities of designing and fabricating photosynthetic membranes from water-based algae-laden biological materials for application in architecture and the built environment.

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Bio photovoltaics

The Bio photovoltaics project explores the integration of bio-photovoltaic algae and magnesium phosphate concrete to produce architectural prototypes: building facade elements that, through photosynthetic mechanisms of the species, can produce bio electricity

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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 luminescent Plateau’ is a bio receptive urban thoroughfare project for he borough of Camden, London. The project uses the concept of a horizontal platform as a public space where urban greening is achieved through the growth of photosynthetic microorganisms, including bio luminescent mosses, fungi and microalgae as an architectural proposal exploring the intersections of biology and design.

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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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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.

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Acoustic poché

The ‘Acoustic Poché’ project explores the designed combination of clay and concrete as a wall condition which encourages the growth of photosynthetic micro-organisms, such as moss, on the substratum of the material. The combination of material, geometrical complexity and species growth produces a self-sustaining, acoustic absorbent wall. 

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An investigation into double-sided, glazed, structural ceramic cladding. The project focuses on the design and fabrication of a bio-receptive wall to be located at Grymsdyke Farm in Oxfordshire. A variety of tilebricks were digitally simulated and generated via agent-based systems with an artificial flocking structure that followed the environmental analyses of the site. The resulting surface morphologies aim at potentiating moss growth on specific areas of the components.

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BIOreceptive wall

‘Bioreceptive wall’ explores the design of discreet bioreceptive components, with embedded moisture and nutrient delivery systems to augment the growth of photosynthetic micro-organisms, including moss and lichen, on the substratum of the material, as a novel urban greening solution.

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This project sparked the idea of generating responsive and growing building components to attain self-resilient or self-sustaining architecture. An era where micro-algae are being promoted as an ideal next generation sustainable source of energy production, it would be interesting if in Architecture the idea of growing micro algae as a renewable energy source on a local to urban scale is explored. When algae are productively introduced into a buildings ecosystem, transforming architectural components to behave dynamically bringing modes of sustenance into their environment speculating them to being able to recycle their own wastewater alongside purifying their atmospheric air.

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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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The project is centred on the design of columns and a roof structure for one of the ruins of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. The porosity of the ceiling and the corresponding light penetration heightens the atmospheric power of the ruin.

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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).


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Pervoius Branching

The proposal focuses on branching geometries that are generated from inside out. Preliminary studies apply a diffusion-limited aggregation system that only explains the extension of space of existing structures in two dimensions. Subsequent studies take a more three-dimensional approach in which the special and structural syntax becomes more organic. It evolves the branching system of the host structure into a unique porous structure that maintains and captures moisture for moss to grow.

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‘Xylematic Structures’ explores an architecture designed to absorb moisture through geometrical and material conditions, and delivers this moisture to designed areas of cryptogamic growth including mosses and smaller ferns on the surface of the architecture.
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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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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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