Rectifying the damage caused by buildings requires an ideological shift, one that involves working with invisible microscopic systems. The very same living organisms that have helped shape the Earth’s ecosystems over billions of years. Bacterial biocement is a living material that offers a path to address the repercussions of the built environment while also transforming how we interact with buildings over their lifespan. All made possible through a collaboration with these microscopic living organisms.
Living brick modules were grown with biocementing bacteria. This engineered living material has the potential to mitigate the excessive use of concrete. The bacteria remain alive in the bricks and can communicate with colors in response to environmental factors such as pollutants, helping to map our eco-health. This process of biocementation results in living materials that can address both the repercussions and our perception of the built environment. Transforming buildings from static entities situated in a landscape, to living systems integrated within their ecosystems.
Read the thesis of Laura Gonzalez, entitled 'Beyond the Brick: Collaborations with a Sensing Microbial System in the Built Environment,' here.