World-first research hub in North East to create Living Buildings

Education | Energy & Low Carbon Industry | North East | Technology

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Experts from Newcastle and Northumbria Universities will develop new technologies to create Living Buildings.

The institutions have been jointly awarded £8m from Research England to establish the world’s first research Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE).

Its aim is to create a new generation of ‘Living Buildings’ which are responsive to the natural environment; grown using living engineered materials; process their own waste; reduce pollution; generate energy and support a biological environment that benefits health.

Hub Co-Director Dr Martyn Dade-Robertson, a Reader in Design Computation in the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape at Newcastle University, said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to create a new field of research. By bringing together architects, engineers and bio-scientists, working with industry and investing in state-of-the-art facilities we are aiming to rethink the building industry.”

Hub Co-Director, Professor Gary Black, a Professor in Protein Biochemistry, Northumbria University said: “We want to use the very latest biotechnologies to create living homes that are responsive to, and protective of their environment and the people who live in them. The current construction of buildings is unsustainable due to its carbon footprint, the hope would be to use this model in housing in the future.”

The new hub will include The OME, an experimental biological house, which will be built on Newcastle University’s campus. A living lab, the OME will be used as an experimental facility to test and showcase the hub’s ground-breaking research.

The HBBE will also comprise a Micro-Design Lab, based at Northumbria University and a Macro Bio-Design Lab at Newcastle University, which will allow the team to develop new technologies from molecules up to buildings.

The HBBE will officially launch on the 1st August 2019 and is currently recruiting 22 new staff.

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