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Bioknit Building: Strategies for living textile architectures

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jane Scott, Dilan Ozkan, Aileen Hoenerloh, Emily Birch, Romy Kaiser, Armand Agraviador, Professor Ben BridgensORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by Itecons, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The urgent need for a more sustainable built environment is leading researchers to investigate biohybrid strategies utilizing living materials within composite material systems. Mycelium, the root network of fungus, has been successfully developed as a binder in the production of bulk composite elements, grown as bricks or other preforms. Research undertaken by our group is focused on the biocompatibility of knitted fabrics as a scaffold for growth, highlighting the potential to tune material properties and create complex forms using textile fibres, yarns, and fabrics as a hierarchical structuring system. Alongside developments in mycelium BioKnit composites, our group is investigating the potential for bacterial cellulose knit composites. Bacterial cellulose is a form of cellulose produced by certain kinds of bacteria, and is of interest to the building sector because there is established manufacturing capability via industrial fermentation processes. Whilst commercial applications have been focused on the food industry (Nata de Coco is a well know South-East Asian food), the ability to synthesize functionalised cellulose from microbes has great potential within construction. The research presented in this paper is focused on bringing these two biomaterials together using textile thinking and knitting technologies. Analysis of the development of an architectural BioKnit prototype reflects on the success and challenges of the composite system and demonstrates how this new BioKnit composite system can be applied at a building scale. This will establish a new fabrication system for living textile architectures and demonstrate the significance of textiles as a tool to transform the understanding of biomaterials in the built environment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scott J, Ozkan D, Hoenerloh A, Birch E, Kaiser R, Agraviador A, Bridgens B, Elsacker E

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: International Conference Construction, Energy Environment and Sustainability (CEES 2021)

Year of Conference: 2021

Online publication date: 12/10/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 27/01/2022

Publisher: Itecons