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LIAR – Living Architecture

The goal of project LIAR is to design and build a proof-of-concept ‘living architecture’ whose targeted breakthrough is to transform our habitats from inert spaces into programmable sites.

Date
April 2016 – February 2019

Client
EU – Horizon 2020, FET-Open research projects

Consortium

  • University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (UNEW), School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Institute for Sustainability
  • University of the West of England (UWE, Bristol), Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Environment and Technology – Unconventional Computing Centre (UCG), Bristol BioEnergy Centre (BBiC), Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL)
  • Spanish National Research Council / Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) – The Biological Research Centre (CIBCSIC), Department of Environmental Biology
  • LIQUIFER Systems Group (LSG)
  • EXPLORA BIOTECH S.r.l. (EXP)
  • University of Trento / University Degli Studi di Trento (UNITN), Centre for Integrative Biology (CIBIO)

 

LSG team
Waltraut Hoheneder, Barbara Imhof, René Waclavicek, Molly Hogle, Angelo Vermeulen

Abstract

Living Architecture (LIAR) is a next-generation, selectively-programmable bioreactor. It is envisioned as an integral component of human dwelling, capable of extracting valuable resources from sunlight, waste water and air and in turn, generating oxygen, proteins and biomass through the manipulation of their interactions.

A freestanding partition is composed of bioreactor ‘building blocks‘ which are conceived as standardized building segments or ‘bricks‘ that can be incorporated into common building construction methods.

The bioreactor LIAR unit is being prototyped based on the operational principles of Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology and Synthetic Microbial Consortia (SMC). The outcome will be two building blocks: one, a programmed and configured MFC to produce electricity, the SMC to purify air and water.

An array of bioreactor units will act in parallel to a computer that is capable of both SENSING local conditions within a building and CONTROLLING the bioreactor system to optimize the building’s environmental impact.

In the future, the LIAR unit can become a form of customizable, programmable micro-agriculture for installation in domestic, public and office environments. The technology could potentially address global scale challenges of urban sustainability and resource management.

 

Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC)

mfc

Synthetic Microbial Consortia (SMC)

smc

graphics credit: LIQUIFER Systems Group 2016