Biotechnology-based construction holds great promise, maintains Professor Martyn Dade-Robertson, who coordinates a research network on the topic. Buildings that are designed to integrate natural biological processes could grow, live, breathe and even reproduce like living things. One of the network’s research strands harnesses the properties of fungus, mycelium, which is already being used to produce high-performance materials. A structure in which the mycelium is kept partly alive could adapt and even self-repair.
The solutions explored by the researchers include the possibility of “healing” concrete weakened by water seepage, of enabling walls to “breathe” by using latex membranes coated with bacteria spores and of generating power by “digesting” waste produced by buildings.