Computation, Biomaterials and Architecture
Tutor: Marcos Cruz
Assistant: Nina Jotanovic
Biology Support: Nuria Conde Pueyo
Computational Support: Rodrigo Aguirre & Angelos Chronis
Fabrication Support: Kunal Chadha

study of ureolytic bacterial calcium carbonate precipitation.




rbanisation today is on the rise and it's development has detached itself from the natural environment, creating a separation

The Methodological Process

Consisting of four stages, from material and bacterial exploration to the final phase of post-manufacturing, where the erosion of the environment will give the structure its final form.




between the urban living and the source of life we depend on from nature. The estimated cost of the global construction process is just over one third of the greenhouse carbon emissions, primarily through the use of fossil fuels during their operational phase. Our built environment is constructed mainly from five primary material components, bricks, concrete, steel, glass and wood and these materials all contain high embodied energy, with cement, brick, steel and gypsum accounting for about 12% of all carbon emission. Instead of relying exclusively on these high embodied energy materials, microorganism involvement in the process of carbonate precipitation in biomineralization, can offer a new approach to the anatomy of structures by the deposition of a hard calcareous material. Building design could be able to respond to its environment and grow material that reduces CO2 emission and requires less energy to produce, compared to traditional construction materials.


‘‘a kind of infection of the earth... a
vast 3D printer made of bacteria crawls
undetectably through the deserts of the
world, printing new landscapes into
existence over the course of 10,000
years’’ .
(Manaught, 2009)

Pattern Formation

Observation of the bacterial pattern formation on petri dishes in nutrient agar


By studying this formation, this project presents the results of a research in which Sporosarcina pasteurii (formerly known as Bacillus pasteurii) was used to induce biological cementation in loose sand medium. The bacteria was injected into sand, which led to the development of biocementation (calcium carbonate crystal) between sand grains. The calcification was observed using a microscope.

Aggregate Testing

These experiments were done in testing the reaction of the bacteria to different types of aggregates. A range of organic and non organic powder and sand was tested.

Biocementation was achieved in a thin crust in this study. The bacteria were injected into a range of aggregates and led to the development of cementation (calcium carbonate crystal) between sand grains and cement aggregate tests. The crystallization was clearly observed in bacterial tests, both solid and liquid form, using a microscope.

Crystal Formation

Microscopic observation of the  bacterial crystal formation

Crystal formation_S_Pasteurii_Bacteria
Crystal formation_S_Pasteurii_Bacteria

Bacterial Incubation 

The bacteria requires a sterile environment to live and multiply in. The glass serves as an incubator for the culture to live in before it is injected into the structure

Particle Behaviour

Inspired by natural systems, building a digital growth simulation through the bacterial experimentation. In a simple interpretation of possible flow, the bacteria agent starts from one initial point where the growth is determined by the proximity of nutrient sources.

This study is a part of a project that aims to develop biotechnological methods for large-scale applications in construction and uses a scaffolding system pre-cast out of a biopaste (agar, beef and yeast extract, peptone, NaCl, CaCI3, urea and sand) with inner channels that focus on an initial irrigation system to transport the bacteria in liquid form through the temporary scaffold. Injection points allow the bacteria to be fed into the structure along with the crystallization catalysts. This perforated layered geometry allows the bacteria to penetrate the biopaste and maximize the growth area on the scaffold to biomineralized the final solid structure as the temporary biopaste scaffolding will erode over time.


Microbial Scaffolding is a project developed at IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture, MAA02 in 2017 

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