The 2019 International Conference on Emerging Technologies in Architectural Design (ICETAD2019) was held at the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada on October 17-18, where Assia Stefanova presented the paper Approach to Biologically Made Materials and Advanced Fabrication Practices. The focus of the conference was on the future potential and challenges of implementing new technologies into architectural design, creative structures, construction processes, materials, and fabrication processes, as well as, a focus on the role of state-of-the-art and emerging technologies to delivering sustainable and environmental-friendly buildings.
The paper was a collective approach that emerged from four PhD researcher in the School of Architecture at Newcastle University over the summer. The group, Assia Stefanova, Thora H Arnardottir, Dilan Ozkan, and Sunbin Lee also set up an exhibition of this work as sort of a visual expression of their collaboration during London Design Festival.
Deepening knowledge of biological systems has allowed us to integrated biology within a wide range of industries, including medicine and industrial chemical synthesis as well as developments within the field of biotechnology. In this context the paper introduces the field of living materials in architecture and explores a set of new design paradigms that enable such collaborations and exchanges to occur, highlighting the need for the development of advanced making practices that are capable of accommodating other living forms. The material practices introduced here utilize mycelium, bacterial cellulose, biomineralising bacteria, and photosynthetic algae in order to demonstrate experimental alternatives for the construction industry. These new interactions with nature recognise that we need to work with the requirements of organisms in order to promote growth, guide development and benefit from living metabolic functions. The use of living materials presents a set of sustainable alternatives for different parts of the lifecycle of buildings and a need for an attitude shift that would allow a more inclusive building realm.