Jay Hallsworth

Newcastle 2022

In the age of the Anthropocene, there are new challenges in terms of how to adapt existing construction practices. Many current processes rely on forms of extraction and manufacture that are unsustainable, and without significant changes to the way materials are used, there is little hope of mitigating climate change. Interaction between researchers, architects, engineers, and contractors can lead to better relationships between materials and reimagining what built environments could be. Biomaterials are not a new concept, but one of the main difficulties with unconventional, and often living biomaterials is that there is little understanding of how they might behave in the built environment. They also have qualities that challenge existing practices, values, and ways of living. This linked research project sets out to explore the combination of bacterial cellulose and waste aggregates. In essence, what starts as sand could develop towards creating a bio-mesh. Adding sand and other aggregates takes cellulose from a slimy substance to an acceptable construction material. This sustainable material may be accepted more quickly by a traditionally conservative construction industry than more esoteric types. This could allow better response, adaptation, and design, to guide the environmental context of the future.

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