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From niche to mainstream – have cultivated biomaterials come of age and should the building industry be urgently embracing them?

Letchworth hemp housing by Stride Treglown

Are grown materials the future?


28 Sep


13:00 - 14:00


Online session

As the importance of whole life carbon is more properly understood, how do we rapidly transition from entrenched high carbon construction practices to regenerative ones?

With their carbon-negative, renewable, healthy, breathable and safely bio-degradable properties are grown materials the way forward to respond to the climate emergency and circular economy?

Our panel discussion features internationally-renowned guest speakers, including Felix Korbinian Heisel, who joins us live from New York.


Connie Ivanova, Part 2 Architectural Assistant – Stride Treglown

Connie Ivanova is a Part 2 Architectural Assistant and the Sustainability Champion for the Bath office of Stride Treglown. She has a BA (Hons) Architecture from Oxford Brookes University and a MArch Architecture from Cardiff University. She is passionate about sustainable architecture, more specifically she is interested in the concept of the circular economy and how this can be implemented within the built environment. She has explored this through various seminars, summer schools, within her Master’s dissertation and in her Master thesis project. She is also a tutor for the RIBA Foundation as part of RIBA Studio at Oxford Brookes University.


Felix Korbinian Heisel, Architect and Assistant Professor in Architecture – Cornell University, New York

Felix Heisel is an architect and academic working towards the systematic redesign of the built environment as a material depot of endless use and reconfiguration. At New York’s Cornell University, he holds the position of Assistant Professor in Architecture and acts as the Director of the Circular Construction Lab. Heisel is also a partner at 2hs architects and engineers, Germany, an office specialized in the development of circular prototypologies.

Felix has been recognized internationally for his work and has published numerous books and articles on the topic, including Urban Mining und kreislaufgerechtes Bauen (Urban Mining and Circular Construction, Fraunhofer IRB, 2021), Cultivated Building Materials (Birkhäuser, 2017), and Building from Waste (Birkhäuser, 2014). Heisel graduated from the Berlin University of the Arts, Germany and has been teaching and researching at universities around the world, including the Berlage Institute; the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction, and City Developments; ETH Zürich, both in Switzerland and Singapore; and Harvard GSD.

Barrie Dams,  Research Associate – University of Bath

Barrie Dams is a Research associate based at the University of Bath. After working in finance with HSBC for two decades, Barrie returned to full time education to study Civil Engineering, having long held an interest in the built environment. Barrie graduated with an MEng degree in Civil Engineering in 2016 and then completed a PhD working with construction materials for Additive Manufacturing processes. Barrie is currently involved in a project entitled Circular Bio-based Construction Industry which has multiple European partner institutions and is investigating bio-based materials in the construction industry along with construction methods and policies adhering to circular economy principals.

Mark Lynn, Vice-Chair – The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and Managing Director, Thermafleece/Eden Renewable Innovations Ltd.

Mark is Vice-Chair of the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products and a member of the ASBP Natural Fibre Insulation Group, with over 20 years’ experience of natural building materials in the fields of natural insulation and timber preservation. Mark authors technical briefing papers for ASBP on topics such as health & wellbeing, breathability and moisture control, and recently gave oral evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into the energy efficiency of existing homes.

Mark is Managing Director of Eden Renewable Innovations/Thermafleece and is passionate about making the best use of local resources, minimising waste and ensuring that sustainability, performance and quality go hand in hand. Furthermore he has a strong scientific and commercial background, being a graduate of chemistry and having completed his MBA at the University of Edinburgh in 2001.

Anna Nikolaidou, Architect, Senior Lecturer, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Unconventional Computing Laboratory at UWE

Anna’s research focuses on biomaterials, biosensing, wearable architectures and adaptive building systems, looking at novel approaches to manufacturing and the way humans interact with their environment. She has an emerging publication record in the field of engineering biology and biomaterials, including in leading international journals and she is currently looking at the development of novel adaptive living material systems across different scales, researching the sensing and communication protocols of fungi and bacteria as reporters of environmental, mechanical and chemical stimuli. She has exhibited her work widely, e.g., the Digital Futures 2017, Shanghai and she holds a Masters degree in Architectural Design (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research) from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Prior to becoming an academic, Anna gained a broad range of experience in industry, working for several high profile national and international architecture practices.

Craig White, CEO – Agile Homes

Craig White BW

Agile was set-up to deliver low-carbon, affordable homes to those in housing need using low-carbon, Modern Methods of Construction, that are built and scaled at pace.
Agile is helping to solve the housing crisis, using a land-supply that is new, free & hidden in plain sight. The climate emergency drives Agile’s design and development of its products and services, to ensure that operational energy and embodied carbon is minimised and that only natural and renewable, bio-based, carbon-capturing materials are used in the fabric of its build systems.

Event image: Letchworth Hemp Housing by Stride Treglown

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