Sanguis et Pulvis seeks to reestablish the dissipating autonomy of the Siwa Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert. Throughout its history this Berber settlement has remained isolated and self sufficient; its
traditional economy based on agriculture, its vernacular based on mud brick construction. However,two environmental phenomena have jeopardised this ancient way of life. Firstly, the encroaching sands of the Sahara have significantly reduced the farmable land surrounding Siwa. This has forced the town to focus its economy increasingly on the unreliable and highly seasonal tourism industry. This has greatly eroded the town’s economic and agricultural self sufficiency. Secondly, a series of rare rainstorms in the 1920s and 1930s caused great damage to the town’s historic centre, effectively melting the salt rich mud bricks. This destroyed faith in the material on which the town’s vernacular was based despite thousands of years of reliance on it. Since then, the town’s development has been almost entirely in concrete, reducing traditional structures to touristic novelties. The project addresses these issues in three ways: it creates a new local construction material based on the abundant waste blood produced by halal abattoirs, it creates a new economic base through the low-tech generation of solar electricity, and it enables large scale agricultural land reclamation by forming a protective barrier against the Sahara.
Ecovative are a New York based research group who are growing a new material using fungi. The process uses an organic aggregate, such as seed husk or other agricultural / industrial by products, as its base. This aggregate is mixed with mycelium fungi and packed into a former to give it the desired geometry. Being a loose aggregate it will fill any former created. The mixture is then left for several days, over which time the fungi grows into a microscopic web of fibres which bond the aggregate into a solid mass. This growth requires no water, light or petrochemical inputs. Every cubic inch of material contains a matrix of 8 miles of tiny mycelial fibres. At the end of the process, they put the materials through a dehydration and heat treating process to stop the growth. This final process ensures that there will never be any spores or allergen concerns.
The company are currently exploring applications of the material in multiple industries from packaging and consumer products to architecture and automotive manufacture. They are also looking for potential partners with which to develop aspects of the material further.
Here are the results of my initial experiments in developing a blood based glue for used as a structural binding agent. Unfortunately the glue was not entirely successful due to its setting by water loss as opposed to chemical reaction. On to round 2…
The culmination of the crest pouring and component diversion technique… The pouring of a full dune in RealFlow to create the superstructure of the building. On the south facade large components create circular openings in the structure which are able to house fresnel concentration lenses. On the north facade smaller components create a thickened bottom edge to diffuse light back into the interior space.
As a continuation in the development of the Crest Pouring technique, diverting components are introduced in order to gain control over the flow paths of the material. These videos show a series of initial experiments in RealFlow, which help to understand how different components placed in different configurations have a specific effect on the material flow. These experiments will now be backed up by more specific investigations and physical experiments.
This home made 3D scanner uses a webcam, a laser line, a calibration backdrop and DAVID laserscanner software to create accurate and detailed 3D scans. The system must be calibrated first with no model present. Once this has been done the model can be placed in front of the backdrop and the laser line passed over its surface. The camera is able to read the distortions of the laser line as it passes over the surface and DAVID converts this information into a 3D mesh. Multiple scans can be made from different angles, which are then automatically aligned and fused by DAVID. Meshes can be exported in multiple formats, in this case as .obj for further editing in Rhino and rendering with VRay.