Redesigning the Ancient Process of Making Bricks

GreenTracker| In a lab at the American University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, Ginger Krieg Dosier, an assistant architecture professor, employs a process, known as microbial-induced calcite precipitation, or MICP,  that uses microbes on sand to bind the grains together like glue with a chain of chemical reactions.

Complex as the science sounds, Dosier — winner of the 2010 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition — is pursing an ancient tradition of brick making. The building blocks of ancient and modern civilizations, brick-making emits more pollution that all the world’s airplanes. 

Inspired by this environmental challenge, Ginger Krieg Dosier decided not to bake bricks, but to grow them in a process that combines chemistry and microbiology. 

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. “We’re running out of all of our energy sources,” she said in March in a phone interview from the United Arab Emirates. “Four hundred trees are burned to make 25,000 bricks. It’s a consumption issue, and honestly, it’s starting to scare me.” via Metropolis

In an unrelated post, Inhabitat shared the innovation of solar-powered bricks, back in 2006. Fascinating.