2nd Year Undergraduate Project (2013)
The Learning Centre explores a form of “living architecture”. Unlike biomimicry where natural forms are emulated with inanimate materials, living architecture aims to culture or grow self-sustaining ecosystems which are also habitable structures, serving the specific needs of their human inhabitants. Living architecture marries biological and structural engineering to create living spaces that are both wondrous and efficient.
The building, in its current form, includes an enrichment centre for children and young adults and a single occupant residence for its caretaker. The Centre focuses it’s teaching on literature, art, and environmental science. A stage with a main floor and mezzanine view area allows the building to serve in evenings for small concerts, open mics, and public speaking events.
The Centre is constructed through a process of controlled growth and deposition of genetically modified calcium carbonate depositing bacteria. Environmental conditions for the ecosystem are modified as necessary so that certain populations of micro-organisms with certain desirable properties dominate through natural selection as needed. Different micro-organism populations are engineered and selected for their exothermic, endothermic, and bioluminescent properties as well as for their structurally reinforcing secretions. This allows the building to be adjustable over time as new rooms can be grown as needed when the program is changed.