Pioneering Construction Materials through Prototypological Research

By Felix Heisel and Dirk E. Hebel in Biomimetics 2019

The article at hand follows the understanding that future cities cannot be built the same way as existing ones, inducing a radical paradigm shift in how we produce and use materials for the construction of our habitat in the 21st century. In search of a methodology for an integrated, holistic, and interdisciplinary development of such new materials and construction technologies, the chair of Sustainable Construction at KIT Karlsruhe proposes the concept of “prototypological” research.

The conceptual framework and timeline for the mycelium-bound building elements research at KIT Karlsruhe and FCL Singapore, positioning the prototypologies in regard to time and context of the overall research agenda and their applications. © Felix Heisel (2019)

Coined through joining the terms “prototype” and “typology”, prototypology represents a full-scale application, that is an experiment and proof in itself to effectively and holistically discover all connected aspects and address unknowns of a specific question, yet at the same time is part of a bigger and systematic test series of such different typologies with similar characteristics, yet varying parameters. The second part of the article applies this method to the research on mycelium-bound building materials, and specifically to the four prototypologies MycoTree, UMAR, Rumah Tambah, and Futurium. The conclusion aims to place the results into the bigger research context, calling for a new type of architectural research.

Full article here.
This article belongs to the Special Issue Proto-Architecture and Unconventional Biomaterials.

Read more about the Professorship of Sustainable Construction at the KIT Faculty of Architecture here.