Transcending Plastics: Programmable Water-based Biomaterials for Digital Fabrication

PI: Neri Oxman, MIT Media Lab

Modern architectural materials require non-renewable raw ingredients and pollutive processing in order to function as homogenous components of structural assemblies, which, in turn, require constant energy input to maintain comfortable environmental conditions. Conversely, living materials grow from the earth as heterogeneous ensembles that can sense and respond to environmental conditions, and, at the end of their lives, return to the earth in order to fuel new growth. Therefore, we propose synthesizing novel organic colloids to utilize in a prototypical robotic digital fabrication platform for architectural scale construction. This research will culminate in the construction of an architectural-scale biomaterial pavilion made of pectin, chitosan, and cellulose, which are three of Nature’s most abundant organic compounds. At the end of its life, the pavilion will programmatically dissociate back into the earth to fuel new growth.

Back to the list >>