Biocene House 1.0

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Biocene House 1.0
Marcos Cruz and Brenda Parker with Tim Lucas, Peter Scully, and Duncan Cameron
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Proposal for the LFA Eco-home pavilion design competition, London

The project for the Biocene House puts forwarda novel typology that maximises the building’s surface area, creating a seriesof spatial infolds – villi – to bring the urban microbiome into the home

Plan layout

The Biocene House: growing, inhabiting, connecting

The Biocene House is a prototype of a space for collective living. Taking the brief of the Eco-home, we proposed to explore how the domestic spaces of the future will be used. At a time of ever-growing dislocation within our societies, we believe that architectural design should facilitate networks of solidarity. Homes will become inherently permeable and porous in terms of their social and ecological ambitions.

Typology: The Biocene House 1.0 is to be understood in line of a spatial evolution that developed from rigid internal organisation that is blocked off from the exterior to more flexible and permeable that merges outer and inner environments into a open continuum.

Preliminary geometric studies (phase 1)

The floor plan and layout of the Biocene House 1.0 follows a social agenda with a corecommunal space in its core. Specific zones surround this area reflect functionality, rather than the idea of rooms. This enables flexibility and plasticity in how space is used. It reflects how we might need to also adapt space over time in our modern definition of family life that is not strictly normative to the ethos which has come to dominate our present building formats.

Preliminary studies of interior nd exterior spaces (phase 2)

The notion of fluidity will prevail in terms of how we will organise ourinteriors. The home becomes a place that supports care e.g. dynamics of adult relationships; the raising of children; incorporating multiple generations, as well as the locus where we begin caring for our environment. The maximised surface area of the façade supports exchangewith our surroundings.

Interior view with 'villi'

Nexus with planetary cycles: The biome of the structure will actively enable connection and ecological participation e.g. water recoveryand carbon capture. Ultimately, this will reduce our dependence on infrastructure: becoming the autonomous home in terms of energy generation and recycling. The future home embodies principles of microbiome-inspired green infrastructure (MIGI) as a means of performing ecosystem services and improving human health. By enriching biodiversity in the immediate surroundings, the building will support a robust microbiome for inhabitants. Valuable surface area generated by the “villi” infolds become spaces for food cultivation, thus creating more pathways for exposure to arange of beneficial microbes.

Exterior view with 'villi'

Materiality: The construction industry has created cheap and durable materials, however theyhave huge resource requirements, generate pollution and are fundamentally linear in nature. In the EcoHome we wish to explore new and experimental materiality developed in our team. Nature becomes the medium for the Biocene House, where we demonstrate the ways that bio-integrated design can offer possibilities for a more responsive palette. Here we present pathways towards a more radical interaction through biotechnologically grown materials, activation of surfaces as scaffolds for biological growth and the reduction of carbon footprint through industrial symbiosis to create new materials from waste.

Extruded axo of construction


Team: Marcos Cruz and Brenda Parker with Tim Lucas, Peter Scully, and Duncan Cameron

Collaboration: Ayelen Franceschini, Nina Jotanović, Alex Lacatusu, Ian Robinson, Daniel Ningkang Wen

Engineering: Tim Lucas with Giulio Gianni (Price &Myers)

Manufacturing: Peter Scully (UCL B-Made)

Organisation: Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects  / London Festival of Architecture

Year: 2023