British architect Jack Munro has been working on a recipe to create a building material from leftover cow blood, Durability and Design first reported.
The idea is part of Munro’s graduate project at the University of Westminster, which won the 2012 Rawat Award for Best Graduate Design Project and is nominated for the 2012 RIBA Silver Medal.
Munro’s graduate project, titled Sanguis et Pulvis (Blood and Dust), focuses on a Berber settlement in Siwa, Egypt, and notes that in North Africa, each halal slaughtered cow wastes approximately 40 liters of blood. Munro said the blood is material that can be used.
“This material can act as a powerful binding agent for use in construction,” he wrote.
Munro writes that his project seeks to “re-establish the autonomy of desert communities” by using this leftover blood to create a durable building material. He explains, “The building itself is formed by casting animal blood based adhesive over a sand dune and allowing the dune to migrate, revealing an interior space which can be excavated and occupied.”
Munro writes that the building houses cattle sheds, slaughterhouses and brick-making resources to make bricks from the blood mixture as well. To create the bricks, Munro mixes fresh blood with a preservative and sand before placing the mixture in a form work to bake for an hour at 158 degrees F.
“The building also generates solar power on a large scale, creating a new economic base for desert communities through sale to the imminent single European energy market,” Munro wrote.
To see the process for yourself, view the photos of Munro’s blood bricks on his website.