Presented by ArchitectureNow, Panuku and the NZ Institute of Architects: this research project was exhibited in an 'architecture meets science meets art' fashion at Silo 6, Wynyard Quarter for an Exhibition at the New Zealand Festival of Architecture from 7 - 17th September 2017. We worked with Monmouth Studio to create the installations. ACE from University of Auckland will be exhibiting and running Augmented Reality demonstrations with the Microsoft Hololenses courtesy of E-Research Lab.
Cities across the world need to stop urban sprawl and focus on a programme of re-naturalisation and sustainable development. We are a group of architects, designers and scientists working together to discover ways in which we can heal the damage brought about by the industrial revolution and take us back into the future. Biotechnology and smart technologies can allow us to create developments and live lifestyles that don't rely on fossil fuels. Bio-design harnesses living materials, whether they are cultured tissues or plants, and embodies the dream of organic design: watching objects grow and, after the first impulse, letting nature, the best among all engineers and architects, run its course. It goes without saying that when the materials of design are not plastics, wood, ceramics, or glass, but rather living beings or living tissues, the implications of every project reach far beyond the form/function equation and any idea of comfort, modernity, or progress. Design transcends its traditional boundaries and aims straight at the core of the moral sphere.
From Svetlana: Imagine you arrive at the desired destination and you are ready to build and live in your house. What could that be like in the future? We believe that the living matter will change the way we think of homes and how we design and build things. The reasons for this are two fundamental properties: first, is that living matter is a programmable material in other words the instructions for the shape, size, colour, pattern or behaviour can be encoded in its DNA and second that living matter is a manufacturing technology, which means that hypothetically any product can be manufactured renewably, quickly and on demand. However, using these properties we can go beyond simply producing materials. It has been recently shown that cells can be programmed to alert and heal you when you are ill. For example, Martin Fussenegger's group has built programmed cells that can detect disease-relevant metabolites in the blood and trigger the production of therapeutic compounds. In mice, these biosensors successfully staved off gout and obesity, and treated the skin disease psoriasis1 ('Living pills').
In spite of progress in the field of biotechnology one question still remains, is it possible to decentralise the whole of industry including the petrochemical industry through using living matter. Answering this question will illuminate how we perceive the realm of possibilities. One could imagine having our needs met locally and completely independent from centralised industry including being able to build a house from living matter in perfect harmony with the nature."
1. Schukur, L., Geering, B., Charpin-El Hamri, G. & Fussenegger, M. Sci. Transl. Med. 7, 318ra201 (2015).
PART ONE: HOW BIOTECHNOLOGY CAN TAKE US BACK, INTO THE FUTURE
We are currently researching the following typologies for the future: Sand dune homes, Alpine homes, Forest Homes as well as a typical urban apartment system. In addition to exploring the biotechnologies utilised in these schemes, another important part of the scheme was to create homes that also visually re-naturalise the environment, giving more people the opportunity to live in 'idyllic' settings, while reversing the damage created by the fossil fuelled industrial revolution. Technology is decreasing the need for people to work and live in centralised locations. In addition to this, our current economic model of capitalism which requires economic growth, is causing hugely detrimental effects to our environment. Pushing towards a higher level of self-sufficiency is needed to create balance between humanity and planet earth. We are proposing a new wave of building that opposes urban sprawl and brings us back to nature, while making cities smaller and increasingly environmentally sustainable.
NEW COASTAL MODEL - EROSION PROTECTION SAND DUNE HOMES
The sand dune homes are part of a larger coastal corrosion control scheme, using bacteria and urea, to transform the sand into sand stone for building structures and retaining structures. The sand dune structures could also create a filtration system that prevents oceanic pollution. It is proposed that a key material source for these structures will be recycled glass, of which humans use approximately 200kgs each per year on average. We also believe that packaging will mostly consist of glass and bio-plastic in the very near future. Refer to our future kitchen scheme for packaging reduction.
- Preventive of erosion
- Integrated glass recycling machines and re-use of glass
- Stormwater filtration scheme to prevent pollution of the ocean
DOMESTIC & TECHNOLOGICAL COMPONENTS:
- Algae harvest station, found in the circular zone in front of the home, processed via taps, to create a key food and fuel source for the inhabitants and surrounding areas.
- Bacteria and urea generate sandstone, formally, which could be controlled at a national level to manage coastal erosion
- Solar Drone 3D printing of sand or recycled glass fragments to create glass panels
NEW ALPINE HOME MODEL
3d printing could radically transform the way we design and build homes. The alpine 'tree' house gets its initial inspiration from the snow covered roof structures already found in alpine regions where spikes are located on the roof at regular intervals to help hold the snow onto the roof structure. The full surround spikes not only hold the snow on the structure over winter to provide insulation to the building, they also let circles of light into the space. Clear solar PV cells located at the ends of the spikes, which are kept warm to prevent snow cover, provide energy to the dwelling, which is stored in the bio-battery. No external power is required and water can be collected, purified and stored within the structure. Formally it has been driven by the micro-structure of snowflakes to create modular and varied homes. It is proposed that the crystalline, modular panel system, will be 3d printed with bio-materials and then assembled on site.
Prevention of global warming through sustainable design using new technologies
DOMESTIC & TECHNOLOGICAL COMPONENTS:
- Transparent 3d printed spike system on all faces for insulation and light-catching (Cellulose nano-crystals (found in plants, algae, and bacteria) have the ‘stiffness of steel, are renewable and biodegradable )
- Bio-energy generated from sunlight and reflections of natural light; housed in tree bio-batteries (Bio-batteries are wood pulp cellulose (“foam-like” aerogel); treated with electronic properties)
- Bioluminescent trees (GMO trees)
- Therapeutic Sleeping hammocks on a pulley system - similar to our urban therapy pods, the hammocks could provide a variety of therapies including vitamin D therapy.
- Re-fillable glass tube kitchen storage system and automatically watered and lit food growth systems.
NEW RURAL RE-FORESTATION HOME MODEL
This model proposes to 're-green' areas where deforestation has taken place, largely due to agricultural and farming needs, by creating homes that are naturally grown, while providing a key food source for the inhabitants and others. A newly developed clear film system by Imec® creates the nutrition and waterproofing layer for these houses and building structures. Plants can be cultivated and grown on a thin Film made of hydrogel which absorbs water and nutrients through its numerous nano-sized pores but blocks germs and viruses. It is a 'Living' circular scheme dissipating into the environment with maximised growth surfaces.
DOMESTIC & TECHNOLOGICAL COMPONENTS:
Bio-luminescence harvest-time indicators and lighting
Singular membrane with water filtration through dwelling surfaces in combination with root networks
Reduced deforestation or urban sprawl into natural ecosystems
Growth of agriculture without clearing land
An address of food wastes by growing edible matters on local building
PART TWO - How Smart Technologies and Emotional Intelligence will change the way we design our homes and live our lives
Artificial intelligence could be a huge game changer when our at home appliances start to evolve into other things. Our 'fridge' could evolve into our personal therapist, dr and nutritionist in one. We could get our daily health scan and then the kitchen of the future can concoct the perfect meal or smoothie for our physical or mental wellbeing. We can tap into a database to follow other people's diets or cuisine creations. It can get to know our patterns and desires and even become our friend. Maybe a morning chat with this mysterious machine will help us get our thoughts in order for the day. CLICK IMAGE ABOVE to find out more.
CORE PROJECT TEAM:
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Jo Aitken
ARCHITECTURAL TEAM: Alice O'Brien-Gortner, Madumal Gunaratna, Daniel Christev, Sophie Crews, Timothy Yang
LEAD SCIENTIST: Dr Svetlana Boycheva
Special thanks to Jane Strickland, Kelly Aitken and Aaron Beck.