Right Turn: Regenerative Architecture?

Author: Patrick Blit, 12/13/13

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Regenerative architecture is an architectural discipline that explores the use of novel designs for the goal of producing sustainable structures that minimize the impact on our planet. You’re probably thinking that bamboo flooring is an example of this and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. In a 2010 TED talk, architect, designer and all-around creative type Mitchell Joachim envisions a different kind of regenerative architecture that is all too familiar to tissue engineers.

With his long bouncing dreadlocks, innovator Joachim describes a future where buildings will be made from lab grown tissue that he delightfully calls “in vitro meat habitats.” He shows us his molecular cell biology lab, located within his architecture firm (Terreform ONE), and shares his futuristic vision, which includes the use of fatty cells as insulation, cilia for dealing with wind loads and sphincter muscles to make up a new generation of doors and windows. We could be pedantic here and discuss the technical hurdles in using regenerative medicine approaches for large structures, not to mention the regulatory challenges involving biohazards, safety considerations and even ethical issues. Even on a logistical level, just imagine the officer from the city’s building permit department coming to a molecular and cell biology laboratory to review the plans. Although Joachim’s “in vitro meat habitats” may seem far off in the future, his ideas do succeed in probing us, testing us and forcing us to start thinking outside the box.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, showcases the “lighter” side of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Every Friday, we will bring you cartoons, photos, videos and other content that may be just as thought provoking as the written submissions that you are used to finding here, but they definitely won’t be blogs.

As always, we welcome your feedback and we also welcome suitable submissions. Be creative! Use the right (!) side of your brain. Make us laugh! Let’s see if we can make this new direction a positive one for all of us. Send your submission to info(at)ccrm.ca.

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Patrick Blit

Patrick Blit

Development Scientist at Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine
Patrick Blit is a Development Scientist for the Biomaterials & Devices Platform at the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). He has been involved in the areas of biomaterials and regenerative medicine since the summer of 2001, when he had the opportunity to study artificial heart valves at the Toronto General Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. He completed both his bachelor and doctorate degrees in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, where he worked on the surface modification of polyurethane scaffolds for vascular applications. He then made his way to Paris, France, to pursue a post-doctoral position in a cardiovascular bioengineering centre at the ‘Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM)’. Back in Toronto at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, Patrick worked as a research fellow on developing novel biomaterial/stem cell-based therapeutic platforms for wound healing. In addition to his research interests, Patrick also has deep-rooted beliefs in the role of scientific innovation in global health initiatives, an interest which was reinforced after spending time as a student delegate at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
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