Congratulations to Chair, Prof. Dr. Fazilet Vadar Sukan, and to the organising committee of the VII. International BioEngineering Congress, for flawlessly producing an exceptionally inspired, insightful and innovative scientific gathering.
Spanning 3-days, November 19th- 21st, the congress took place at the recently renovated Izmir Architecture Centre, and comprised several 60-min plenary speeches; several dozen short talks and poster presentations on wide-ranging bioengineering research and applications; a series of workshops; breakout sessions; three exhibitions; and an award ceremony.
A member of the Scientific Committee, and one of the plenary speakers, I had the great pleasure of meeting peers from far and wide, including Stanford, University College London, Delft University of Technology, Rice University, and the French National Scientific Research Centre.
One of the foremost fascinating talks of the congress was delivered by Turkish bioartist Selin Balci, who ‘applies an acute scientific laboratory practice to create her artworks’, which employ living organisms, including fungus and mould, to explore ‘the fundamental, underlying social dilemmas and principles of our existence in an effort to understand and highlight social issues’.
Another highlight of the congress was the ‘Biodesign at the Intersection of Creativity and BioEngineering’ workshop. Created with input from several scientific committee members, including myself, the workshop was designed to be collaborative and hands-on, with the intent to materialize ‘artworks, prototypes, and architectural concepts that harness living materials and bio-processes, to present bio-integrated approaches to sustainability and innovation enabled by biotechnology’.
Workshop participants comprised several bioengineers, a biologist, a handful of architects and designers, and postgraduate students from schools of architecture and biosciences. Together, those present collectively conceptualized several pioneering biodesign concepts to tackle critical contemporary and emerging urban issues. Outputs from the 3-day activity included a portfolio of experiments, sketches, handmade and 3D printed models, and a plenary presentation.
Together with experimentation and conceptualization, the workshop featured a series of short talks by several participants on themes including: ‘Living and Responsive Environments’; ‘Self Healing Cementitious Materials by Bacterial Action’; ‘Possibilities in Protocells in Biodesign’; and ‘A Line Between Architecture and Photosynthesis: Designing with Micro Algae’.
Such was the success of the workshop that its participants have committed to an ongoing exploration in biodesign and bioengineering within architecture and urban planning, unto which international peers from wide-ranging fields will be invited to participate.
Melissa Sterry, PhD, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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