Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition Winner: The Better Brick (Urine+Bacteria Building Material)

Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Design Competition has announced their winner for 2011: A scientist that claims to have devised a system to build bricks using bacteria, sand and one commonly found not so convential ingredient: urine.

American University of Sharjah architecture professor Ginger Krieg Dosier has devised a system to build bricks from sand, common bacteria, calcium chloride, and urea (found in human urine). The process, known as microbial-induced calcite precipitation, or MICP, uses the microbes on sand to bind the grains together like glue with a chain of chemical reactions. The resulting mass resembles sandstone but, depending on how it’s made, can reproduce the strength of fired-clay brick or even marble. If Dosier’s biomanufactured masonry replaced each new brick on the planet, it would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by at least 800 million tons a year.

In a very direct way its similar to projects by AA Student Magnus Larson we featured here.

The above steps shows how the brick is composed, and unlike furnace bricks seemingly reaches a modest strength capable of withstanding building forces without having to be burned in a furnace wasting energy. Whats even more fascinating is that the bricks don’t even need mortar, as they can continue to bind to each other if simply placed one on top of another. Great project, Dosier hopes to actually put the bricks in use and device machines that can manufacture them constantly in developing parts of the world.

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