Biotechnology and the future way of life

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City and home design for the future: How Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence can fight global warming and change the way we live

We carried out this Research project with scientists from the University of Auckland. You can read an article about it be clicking link below:

Cities across the world need to stop urban sprawl and focus on a program 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 the Project’s Head Scientist, Dr Svetlana Boycheva: 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).

NEW MODEL FOR COASTAL CONSTRUCTION

A section through the proposed Sand Dune home

A section through the proposed Sand Dune home

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.

GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS:

- Preventive of erosion

- Integrated glass recycling machines and re-use of glass 

- Stormwater filtration scheme to prevent pollution of the ocean

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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 MODEL FOR ALPINE CONSTRUCTION

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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.

GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS:

Prevention of global warming through sustainable design using new technologies

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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

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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

GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS:

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