Project Type: Speculative Building Research
Project Year: 2023
Project Team: Kostas Grigoriadis, Javier Ruiz Rodriguez (Softbiome)
This speculative building research explores the material and visual characteristics of responsive buildings / organisms composed of bio-multi-materials performing various (structural, thermal, and other) functions.
The design process and features of the resulting building consist of the following: To match constructed building and natural landscape materiality, the rural site is 3D / MRI scanned to acquire formal and material data about the terrain and the environment monitored to acquire local climatic information. This information is then fed into a seamless, iterative feedback process of design, multi-criteria optimisation, and use-phase performance simulation. Once the formal and material characteristics of the ‘building blend’ are defined through this workflow, a 3D printer is installed onsite, and a fusion of structural, insulating, and transparent biomaterials is additively manufactured.
The building’s base has the same material composition as the existing terrain, while overall, the enclosure is coloured and textured to merge visually and materially with the surrounding landscape. Its 3D printed envelope consists of thin veins of conductive bio-hydrogel embedded into a biopolymer matrix that forms the main structural material. The polymer turns translucent in some places, allowing light in but maintaining privacy, and transparent in other regions where no light or privacy control are required. The bio-hydrogel veins also transfer information about environmental conditions within the space and the bio-multi-material matrix reacts by regulating humidity, light, and temperature levels to maintain comfort. Titanium dioxide ceramic regions catalyse pollutants and odours and convert them into carbon dioxide and water, while embedded bioluminescent pigment regions provide illumination at night. Bio photovoltaic cells merging into the connective biopolymer tissue in a graded manner provide energy for the whole building.