The blocks, which act as a digestive system for buildings taking in waste water to generate power, are being designed as part of the €3.2m LIAR (Living Architecture) project. They extract resources from sunlight, waste water and air and fit together to create 'bioreactor walls' which could then be incorporated in housing, public buildings and office spaces.
“We are very excited to be able to show off the first prototype of the living brick," said project co-ordinator Rachel Armstrong from Newcastle University in the UK. "There is so much potential in this project to change the way we think about how we recycle the waste form our home and what the places we live in can do. For so long buildings and the materials used to build them have been inert structures. Our work is looking at the materials we use to build our homes, our offices, and make them come alive and work for us in a way which benefits us and the environment.”
The bricks are being developed at the Centre for BioEnergy at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol, UK. “The MFC is a technology we have been developing for practical implementation, over a number of years, and it is fantastic that this project is giving us the opportunity to integrate the technology with the building-blocks of our homes and work-places. We are surrounded by examples of structures, materials and systems with multiple functionalities and this is a first step towards making the wall structures surrounding us multi-functional.”
In addition to the prototype MFC-based brick, a ceramic model has been developed by Austrian developer LIQUIFER Systems Group to epxlore how the poweredbrick can be used in archteicture and building design. The three year project runs until 2019 and also includes the Universities of Florence and Trento in Italy.