[abstract paper] - Draft version 1 - Knowledge sharing platform for living materials in the building industry


#1

Hi,

I’m co-writing an abstract (and later a full paper) for an academic conference about open-platform research on mycelium materials in architecture/construction industry. It would be awesome to co-write and peer-review it together with the community.

Abstract (1pg):
The goal of the paper is to strategize about how open-platform research can inform biologically augmented matter and therefore regenerate the relationship between people, ecology and materiality in de building industry. A broad potential exists in the production of biomolecular self-assembling living materials, such as mycelial composites, with properties that are beneficial for all organisms (humans and non-human). Unfortunately, several risks have been attributed to the recent (potentially myopic) developments in engineered biological systems under highly controlled conditions (ref). One of the risks is related to the exponential industrialisation and technological growth leading to exponential competition for scared resources. As a result, harm is exponentially externalised to the biosphere and the commons to a level that is no longer viable (ref). In meanwhile, grassroot biohacking communities composed of students, self-builders, product designers, architects, researchers, educators, are producing abundant knowledge about sustainable biomaterials on a crossdisciplinarity platform. To channel the self-replicating manufacturing systems developed by those commons, all stakeholders (such as waste management facilities, mycelium producers, mushroom farmers, material manufactures, engineers, constructors, governments, scientists…) should be identified, connected and willing to reinvent the industrial processes of living biomaterials in the building industry.

First of all, we establish a set of principles uncovered from the avant-garde biohacking movement, as well as a series of material and design experiments evaluating those methods in the architectural practice. Two pilots are elaborated, the first in an architectural engineering education project and the second in an large-scale manufacturing project of living building materials. We analyse the opportunities and challenges when different fields come together in a symbiotic relation. What if mushroom farmers become mycelium-material producers in a circular model, “bio-artisans” working with wild-types in local autonomy, similar to craftsmen and brewers? How to give architectural engineers new toolsets to become bio-engineers? What does it mean to engineer living biological materials into designed objects?

The research approach for both pilots is community-based and uses an online forum for knowledge sharing. It includes action-oriented and material-based research which is probabilistic, explorative and shaped by its local context. While most experiments on the open-platform are not always scientifically reproducible, they embody a valuable set of psychogeography possibilities for the re-appropriation of matter. The users are assisted to deal with non-linear, complex and iterative processes. Furthermore, the collaborative and non-competitive engagements regularly form new ‘out-of-control’ information, which creates fertile and fluctuating spaces between disciplines, the people, and their relationships. The approach is based on two main regenerative methods: non-competitive dynamics and closed-loop dynamics.

Feel free to add, correct, peer-review, re-write, criticise, etc…

What do you think? Is it valuable to publish what we do on this forum?

@winnieponcelet @alberto @Gammarra @JasperB @bdamsin @Ichelle @Lennert @BerendBassleer


#2

I wouldnt end the abstract there, typícally you hint into what is the subject of your insights or any preliminary result. rather than dropping what are the main approaches.

Probably introduce them in the begining, there is a lot on biomaterials at the beginning that is going to require citation and feels disjointed from the rest of the text, specially the first half.


#3

New iteration:

Transdisciplinary knowledge sharing platform for biologically augmented materials in the building industry

Abstract

The goal of the paper is to discuss how open-platform research is deployed as a tool to scale the manufacturing of biologically augmented materials in the building industry. A broad potential exists in the production of biomolecular self-assembling living materials, such as mycelial composites [1], with properties that are beneficial for all organisms (humans and non-human). Unfortunately, several risks have been attributed to the recent (potentially myopic) developments in engineered biological systems under highly controlled conditions to produce lightweight living composites [2]. One of the risks is related to the exponential industrialisation and technological growth leading to exponential competition for scarce resources. As a result, harm is exponentially externalised to the biosphere and the commons to a level that is no longer viable [3]. In meanwhile, grassroot biohacking communities composed of students, self-builders, product designers, architects, researchers, educators, are producing abundant knowledge about sustainable biomaterials on a crossdisciplinarity platform [4]. To scale the self-replicating manufacturing systems developed by those commons, all stakeholders (such as waste management facilities, mycelium producers, mushroom farmers, material manufactures, engineers, constructors, governments, scientists…) should be identified, connected and willing to reinvent the industrial processes of living biomaterials in the building industry.

First of all, we establish a set of principles uncovered from the avant-garde biohacking movement, as well as a series of material and design experiments evaluating those methods in the architectural practice. Two pilots are elaborated. The first is an education project of architectural engineering students on the topic of living-materials. The second is a large-scale manufacturing project of mycelium building materials. We analyse the opportunities and challenges when different fields come together in a symbiotic relation. What if mushroom farmers become mycelium-material producers in a circular model, “bio-artisans” working with wild-types in local autonomy, similar to craftsmen and brewers? How to give architectural engineers new toolsets to become bio-engineers? What does it mean to engineer living biological materials into designed objects?

The research approach for both pilots is community-based and uses an online forum for knowledge sharing. It includes action-oriented and material-based research which is probabilistic, explorative and shaped by its local context. While most experiments on the open-platform are not always scientifically reproducible, they embody a valuable set of psychogeography possibilities for the re-appropriation of matter. The stakeholders are assisted to deal with non-linear, complex and iterative processes. The approach is based on two main regenerative methods: non-competitive dynamics and closed-loop dynamics. The collaborative and non-competitive engagements regularly form new ‘out-of-control’ information, which creates fertile and fluctuating spaces between disciplines, the people, and their relationships.

References

[1] E. Elsacker, S. Vandelook, J. Brancart, E. Peeters, L. De Laet, Mechanical, physical and chemical characterisation of mycelium-based composites with different types of lignocellulosic substrates. Manuscript submitted for publication, (2019).

[2] A.D. Ginsberg, J. Calvert, P. Schyfter, A. Elfick, D. Endy, Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature, MIT Press, 2014.

[3] IPCC, Summary for Policymakers. In: Global warming of 1.5°C., World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2018. http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ (accessed December 17, 2018).

[4] BioFabForum, Biofabrication. (n.d.). https://biofabforum.org/c/biofab (accessed April 20, 2018).


#4

The biofabforum was recently moved to a new server. The correct URL is now https://biofabforum.org/

I fixed a small typo in your new iteration (“scared resources” -> “scarce resources”)

I kind of get what you’re trying to say. Then again, I’m at home in the topic. In general I get lost in your sentences in the 2nd and 3rd alinea. It might help other community members to pitch in if you wrote it in simple terms. Afterwards you can re-apply the layer of big words and adjectives to get it to be taken seriously by the evaluators, if you think that’s needed.

Do you have a version where you write in simple words or bullet points what you want to say @Elise ?


#5

@winnieponcelet This abstract is accepted for the IASS conference. A full paper is not required, so I’ll only go for a presentation right now, because of time limitations.