The purpose of this project is to investigate, in depth, the concept and procedures of bio-design. The design industry has been exploring the incorporation of nature and biological/biochemical processes and structures. One concept in particular, Bio-computation, has conceived the project that is [ BIO_reCLAIM ]. The project calls for the implementation of a theoretical and scientific framework of investigation. A series of investigational streams have been developed to provide a rigorous and rigid structure of the project. This project sets Biorock as a pretext for investigating the capacities to construct a growing system to transform potential brownfield urban domains. Speculating on the possibilities of BiorockTM as an organism for recovering brownfields of polluted wetlands. The biological organism will be controlled to a physical system growing from the polluted ecosystem, providing a source of tangibility to the public, educating and quantifying the direct extent of disturbance caused by polluting the environment. The active space will be a dynamic platform for the public to interact and learn of the challenges facing the cities environment. The by-product will be the harmonious cleansing of toxic chemicals from the waters generating a source of energy and promoting the emergence of aquatic organic life.

Previous experiments by Wolf H. Hilbertz used the electro-accumulation of minerals in the restoration of coral reefs and revitalisation of sea life. Hilbertz trade-marked the accreted substance as ‘Biorock’. Our aim is to first understand and experiment within the material limits of Biorock as an active urban application. We do this by controlling the accumulation process and devising a physical system which we can bio-computationally manipulate to suit our purpose. Bio-computational research in geometric formations leads to bones as a model for developing a biologically responsive material. Similar to bones, BiorockTM substance is a dynamic system that is able to repair itself after functional failures. Bone, regenerates and calcifies according to the external stimuli that is applied, resulting in the re-organizing of organic material which is distributed to a geometric output. Scientific research informs us that there are certain environmental conditions required to successfully generate electrodeposited minerals in seawater. The key minerals required for optimum growth are calcium phosphates, also present in greywater runoff. We conducted a series of controlled experiments with this mineral content and bone substratum, carefully varying the the control parameters, to produce the optimum growth suitable for full scale urban recovery and activation.

Can we manipulate contextual factors for bio-rock mineralisation to replicate and change its growth and regeneration behaviour and matrix structure? Can we implement a new design logic to exploit and hack the material computational properties for architectural interventions? 




Design Studio “Active Public Space. Ecomachines”, IaaC, 2015.

Faculty: Claudia Pasquero, Camelo Zappulla, Maria Kuptsova

Students: Jonathan Irawan, Christopher Wong, Lalin Keyvan, Robert Staples, Abdullah Ibrahim, Luis Bonila.