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Bioinspired living skin for architecture (ARCHI-SKIN)

  • PROJECT TITLE: Bioinspired living skin for architecture (ARCHI-SKIN)
  • PROJECT LEADER: Anna Sandak, PhD
  • PERIOD: 01.09.2022 – 31.08.2027
  • BUDGET:  €1,999,000.00
  • FINANCING: ERC (Horizon Europe)

The “Bioinspired living skin for architecture” (ARCHI-SKIN) project will develop a protective bio-coat made from engineered living materials. Biofilms adhere to solid surfaces and contain a community of bacteria and other microorganisms. Recognized as one of the most stable biological systems on earth, most biofilm studies focus on preventing their formation, leaving their beneficial use for protection unexplored.

Over five years, ARCHI-SKIN researchers will explore the design principles underlying fungal biofilm to advance the knowledge of the chemistry-structure-properties of its biological system, including biofilm formation, structure, function and performance. The project will go beyond laboratory routines and use the latest tools in life cell imaging, data science and machine learning. The idea is to develop a bioactive protective coating system that works in harmony with nature and benefits from the synergetic efforts of living fungal cells, bio-based ingredients and bioinspired concepts for materials design.

Dr. Sandak and her team will develop a biofilm that protects biomaterial, concrete, plastic and metal surfaces. One remarkable functionality will be its natural self-healing property. ARCHI-SKIN’s novel approach to materials protection will advance the development of engineered living materials that can interact, adapt and respond to environmental changes. The project will provide a new dimension that has not existed for materials—life—and change how we perceive, experience, understand, design, use and transform materials.