Bio-Bricks: “Growing” architecture

innovation-challenge-biomason_biobrick

In the beginning of architectural history, man used the earth to build homes and structures. Over time building materials such as brick and mortar were created. After the industrial revolution, new materials such as steel and concrete became more abundant in the built world. Currently we live in a time where precast concrete panels and decorative brick shingles have taken over the architectural world. However, there are many companies and people seeking new methods to capture the use of natural building materials like that of the original architects as well as add innovation through the new sciences and technologies that we have. The start up company bioMASON have made it there mission to reinvent the brick.

The bioMASON brick is one of the first bricks that does not require “firing” like that of traditional bricks. Regular red bricks get there strength from being baked in a large oven for several days. This process requires a massive amount of energy, material and releasing a large quantity of CO2 into the earths atmosphere. The Bio Brick uses natural microorganisms and a process similar to the forming of coral reefs to “grow” concrete. Their website states, ” bioMASON’s process simply eliminates the need for firing by replacing the curing/hardening process with the formation of biologically controlled structural cement.” These bricks require no firing and take only 5 days to grow, but are still the same strength as conventional bricks.

These new bricks have already changed the way people are looking at the future of building materials. Currently bioMASON is still a small company and are only able to produce 1500 bricks a week, but the advancement of this technology will help to reduce the 40% of global emissions caused by the traditional brick making process. The bricks can also absorb pollution that is already in the air. This adds even more to their sustainable quality. If bioMASON continues to expand and can increase the quantity of bricks they can “grow” on a daily basis, this innovative material can and will be well used in the near future.

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One comment

  1. Dennis Garvey

    Dennis Garvey week 5:
    Bio bricks are gaining enough support to where they are almost a subcategory under the umbrella we know as brick. This post accurately labels brick as a mass produced and consumed product by humans, but this post only suggests that this specific type of brick- the “bio brick”- is advantageous compared to traditional brick. Not only will the production of bio bricks improve the carbon footprint of brick production, the conversion to bio bricks could have large ramifications to the aesthetic of buildings that are traditionally clad in ceramic brick. Converting to such an aesthetic could resemble a eco-based design choice which is characteristic of sustainable design, OR it may be a complete error to think that we can continue the use of brick in sustainable design. Many new materials on this blog are just iterations of simple, and dated materials. Perfecting these existing materials might be able to solve building and structural problems, but there might be an alternative solution to the problems that the bio brick is solving.

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