Using the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a starting point my work explored a variety of materials, technologies and systems to create sustainable design solutions for a variety of environments on and off world.
Insect House is located within an autonomous community in La Garrucha, Chiapas, Mexico, prototyping a cricket farm providing a sustainable food source and income stream for the community. Bamboo was chosen as a local, sustainable, earthquake-resistant resource and a variety of construction techniques are exhibited in the design. Rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic panels maintain autonomy and provide extra resources for the local community.
Venturing off-world to explore recent developments in space technology exposed the sustainable design required for the extreme autonomous environment situating Martian House. I focussed on closed loop systems and material efficiency of In-Situ Resource Utilisation methods. In the pursuit of advanced technology it became apparent that often the most reliable and functional systems and materials are natural and minimally processed having been developed and refined over millions of years whilst closed loop systems often fail due to unknown unknowns.
My research culminated in the Life Support Centre employing high and low technologies from previous projects to create a sustainable design integrating within and improving Manchester’s existing ecosystem. A clay rich site on Water Street in Manchester City Centre requires remediation but mixed with agricultural waste (i.e. corn, rice husk or straw) can produce a biodegradable PLA capable of being 3D printed. A layered timber gridshell roof achieves the required column free span of the pools. Heat pumps in the River Irwell and gym heat the swimming pools. Waste water is initially treated in a small scale anaerobic digester to remove sludge and smell before entering algae, plankton, fish and reed filtration ponds until finally depositing in the River Irwell.