Living architecture: can microorganisms help to build our cities and power them too?

Combining architecture, engineering and biology, a panel of academics and architects will discuss how microorganisms are changing the way we think about sustainability and the fabric of our cities. They will examine the potential ethical and more symbiotic relationships between cities and the natural world.

Speakers include:

- Richard Beckett, director of BiotA Lab, The Bartlett, UCL

- Simone Ferracina, researcher at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University and editor of Organs Everywhere

- Marco Poletto, co-founder and director of ecoLogicStudio

- Gimi Rimbu, research associate at Bristol BioEnergy Center, University of West England

- Chair: Lewis Blackwell, curator of SuperMaterial

The panel will draw from various projects such as living brick, which is a prototype modular structure that houses microbial fuel cells. The microorganisms in living brick act as biocatalysts, converting the chemical energy of organic matter into electricity via metabolic processes. The development of a magnesium phosphate-based concrete will also be explored. This material can host microorganisms and nurture bio-colonisation to enable plant life to thrive on buildings in a more sustainable, efficient and structurally integral way. Further to this, bioplastic and a non-anthropocentric view of the city will be discussed. By looking at the city from a micro-scale of energy flow into organisms, we obtain a set of distinctions that allow us to discover processes of collective intelligence.

Please note that this event is free to attend but booking is essential. 

This talk is part of the SuperMaterial event series, curated by The Built Environment Trust. The event programme is kindly supported by Trimo.