Bio-Based Materials Design Lab
Harnessing resources and energy for a sustainable future
The BBMLab is a multicultural and interdisciplinary community that conducts cutting-edge research, develop solutions for complex societal problems and fosters disruptive innovation.
We promote the use of sustainable bio-based materials such as bamboo, mycelium, engineered timber, hemp, strawbales, algae, amongst others, to support the transition to a biocircular economy and create positive change.
Our mission is to create better living environments for people and regenerate the planet through design.
We showcase that sustainability in design can be achieved by combining traditional knowledge, bio-materials research, modern fabrication techniques and emerging technologies.
Bio-materials research is expanding fast into the 21st century construction and design industry in particular. Products such as mycelium, spinifex, guayule, seaweed, strawbale, bamboo amongst other bio-materials, have large potential for commercial application. The design element of integrating contemporary solutions is fundamental for the development of this industry.
The Bio-Based Materials Design Lab has been advancing its research in bio-materials and biofabrication, in particular hybrid use of mycelium and bamboo, to develop products out of bricks and boards that can be flexible in its applications, durable [e.g. water, fire and termite resistance] and have good compressive and tensile strength.
The aim is to apply these products into design contexts [scale of product and architectural design] that can be locally produced and have scalability and sustainability of manufacturing.
At the BBmLab we combine this knowledge with modern fabrication techniques and emerging technologies such as parametric & algorithm-aided design, digital fabrication and augmented reality to create positive economic, social and environmental impact.
Our research has also helped us rethink our pedagogical models, which ultimately influences our future environmental and social leaders, our current students. Through specific research led units [ ARCT5885 – Bio-Based materials in global settings, at the Masters of Architecture, our best graduates are invited to participate with us on industry and research projects, and have been successful on international design competitions and industry collaboration.
We collaborate with international partners and established a new design and build studio tailored for our undergraduate students [ ARCT2040 and ARCT3020], the Vertical Hybrid Studio. This studio expresses our common vision of ‘global design opportunities that are locally made’.
PhD opportunities and scholarships
We welcome engaged research scholars that are driven by research led design, to advance the mission of the BBMLab and be part of our team of scholars and industry collaborators. We seek in particular candidates that have a proven record of publications in the area of bio-materials research and digital fabrication-emerging technologies, or/and design awards and practice based work in these fields.
A Bachelors and Masters degree in Architecture or Product design is desirable but we do welcome outstanding candidates from interdisciplinary relevant areas too. Bio-materials design and research experience and/or bio-fabrication experience is essential. A research proposal needs to be sent at the time of application with list of publications relevant to the proposal. Please check UWA requirements for PhD entry, as these are deemed essential.
Dr Jairo da Costa, Bio-Based Materials Design Lab Co-Founder, Adjunct Senior Lecturer Product Design (pictured right)
I'm an architect and designer, with an interest in sustainability in design in the School of Design at UWA. My research is currently focused on bio-based materials research and its potential application and translation into commercial products for the construction industry with affordability of resources. I'm also interested in bio-based design for educational locations and for children. I've been engaged for decades in the understanding of sustainability issues of design in the tropics and from a historical and documentation point of view, I'm interested in continuing this area of research too.
Dr Rosangela Tenorio, Bio-Based Materials Design Lab Co-Founder, Associate Professor of Architecture