From breeding, cultivation, seeding and harvesting of biological building materials

Climate change and resource scarcity make it clear that we need to rethink the architecture and the city of the future. At the symposium numerous pioneers presented their research projects and application examples for a future building industry, some of which are presented in the current edition of the "Deutsche Bauzeitschrift".

Cover Deutsche Bauzeitschrift, January Edition 2021 © Deutsche Bauzeitschrift

The symposium on December 04, 2020, was organized by the Professorship of Sustainable Construction of the KIT Faculty of Architecture Karlsruhe. The event took place as part of the changelab platform and was supported by Wacker Chemie AG.

Bioflexi is a flexible, high-density fibreboard made of annually renewable raw materials consisting of up to 90 % of annually renewable natural fibres. © BioMat am ITKE / Universität Stuttgart

Jun. Prof. Hanaa Dahy is researching biocomposite building elements made of renewable natural fibres at the University of Stuttgart. In close cooperation between architects and civil engineers, high-quality, elastic, yet load-bearing building panels made predominantly from renewable resources were developed at the Biomat with the help of digital production techniques and ultimately even tested in 1:1 applications.

Mycelium-bound building materials could serve as a biological cement substitute. The grown fungal mycelium can be used as a binder for biological substrate, just as cement is used as a binder for sand and gravel. © Future Cities Laboratory Singapore, Carlina Teteris

The research team led by Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, Chair of Sustainable Construction at KIT Karlsruhe, is working on mycelium-bound building materials. Agricultural waste or waste from the wood and food industries serve as the starting material for the growth process of the fungus. In specially made moulds, the production of any geometry is possible. In this way, various biodegradable building blocks or board materials with good thermal, acoustic and strength properties are created.

The Advanced Fiber Composite Laboratory in Singapore © Future Cities Laboratory Singapore, Carlina Teteris

At the Advanced Fibre Composite Laboratory in Singapore, as a project partner of the KIT Karlsruhe Professorship of Sustainable Construction, the researchers find new methods and processes for producing a high-strength building material from natural bamboo fibres. If successful, this research could be the prelude to the development and introduction of new technologies for a natural resource that is widely used around the world.

Conceptual models and 1:1 models of various components made of scrap wood © ZRS Architekten Ingenieure

At the Berlin office of ZRS Architekten, Andrea Klinge’s research department is conducting application-oriented research into the construction of buildings from reused components and recycled materials. If these can be dismantled non-destructively after re-installation, CO2 emissions in the construction sector can be significantly reduced and materials can be returned to their material cycle. According to Andrea Klinge, the reuse of waste wood will become necessary in the foreseeable future due to increasing demand and must be facilitated by application-oriented industrial processes.

Read the full article in Deutsche Bauzeitschrift here.

Author: Nadine Schimmelpfennig / Edition: January 2021