Yuval Gur

PhD Candidate

Prof. Ezri Terezi
Prof. Nitai Drimer ( Mechanical Engineering )

Consutant: Dr. Alvaro Israel (Israel oceanographic & Limnological Research)

The influence of different structural forms of aquacultural open-sea algae cultivation tanks on the growth rate of the algae

It is generally accepted that the fields of marine environment and agriculture fields face various challenges. The most consequential of them are biodiversity reduction, changes in nutrients balance in the sea, shortage of valuable land, and worldwide increasing need of protein resources for humans. There is now much evidence that open-sea algae cultivation may have a significant potential in facing those challenges.

In the last century, biodiversity reduction in the marine environment increased due to industrial fishing and the rapid expansion of the coastal population (McCauley et al., 2015). Biochemical flows, especially phosphorus and nitrogen cycle, are also imbalanced due to human activity such as fertilizers remaining and sewage that flows to rivers and the oceans (Steffen et al., 2015). In the field of agriculture, the lack of land for agriculture derives from soil erosion and desertification, urbanization, and climate change (Zabel, Putzenlechner, & Mauser, 2014). And lack of protein sources is deriving from global population growth and changes in socio-demographics. (Henchion, Hayes, Mullen, Fenelon, & Tiwari, 2017). These facts cause a global search for the next sustainable source of protein.

Open-sea algae cultivation may be a sustainable and ecological solution for the challenges mentioned. As part of the natural function of algae in the marine ecosystem, using photosynthesis, the algae absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen (Beer & Koch, 1996). Furthermore, it absorbs nitrogen and phosphorus at high rates (Neori, Shpigel, & Ben-Ezra, 2000) and contains a high ratio of protein (Shpigel, Neori, Popper, & Gordin, 1993). There is an ongoing effort to foster farming and mariculture to offshore cultivation for more than two decades (Krause & Stead, 2017) due to the potential of the open-seas to supply a sustainable and efficient infrastructure for the solution of the multiple challenges presented above.

Although the ongoing efforts, offshore algae cultivation methods, and equipment have developed slowly over a long time due to technological and operational difficulties, moreover, the existing cultivation methods are using devices and equipment that is not designed primarily for aquaculture. Withal, almost none of the research work in these fields are from the design research discipline. Using design tools as an alternative approach can innovate this research field significantly. The absence of designers in this field can link to the limitation in the exploration of the structural forms of those open-sea algae cultivation platforms.

The research presents a process of design, development and optimization of open-sea algae cultivation methods using advanced design tools and nature-centered design. The research aim is to compare various forms and function factors; to find a better design system for growing algae in a marine agriculture environment.



Ofer Berman

PhD Candidate

Prof. Ezri Terezi
Prof. Nadav Shashar

Digital Tabular Coral – Freeform clay deposition in the service of marine biology

This research investigates an approach to designing and producing an artificial tabular coral by means of freeform 3D printing using natural clay. Most 3D printed artificial corals are formed by scanning natural corals and printing them with conventional layer-by-layer methods, often defined as slicing a model. Here, a freeform clay deposition method is used, which exploits the design opportunities of creating new morphologies of artificial corals, influenced largely by an industrial design perspective. The system allows the designer complete control of the pattern and deposition of the material in relation to the parallel natural coral. This method of designing crafty corals requires full understanding and control of both marine biology and machinery to achieve the desired functionality and aesthetics.

Reef, Artificial, Coral, clay, 3d printing


Noam Attias

PhD student

Assistant Professor Yasha Grobman
Professor Ezri Tarazi (Faculty of Architecture and town planning at the Thechnion)
Professor Ofer Danai (Northern R&D, MIGAL, Israel).

Noam Attias is a PhD candidate, fusing biotechnology and industrial design. She holds a B.Des in Inclusive Industrial design from the Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, graduated with honors. Her graduate project was presented at Ars Electronica exhibition, Linz, Austria 2013. During her studies, Noam developed a growing interest in the fabrication processes of biological materials and its utilization possibilities. After a short period at WCDIB design studio, she decided to take a deep tour into the world of biology. She graduated with honors an M.Sc in biotechnology, focusing on protein engineering methods at Professor Oded Shoseyov’s lab, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, Rehovot, Israel. Noam joined as scientific coordinator to “life object” the Israeli pavilion at 2016 Venice biennale of architecture. She presented her research projects in both scientific and design conferences.
In her PhD research, Noam aims to fuse her experience in design and biotechnology by exploring novel uses of fungal mycelium as a structural material in architecture and design, using advanced interdisciplinary materials and methods. The research is done at three different labs with unique knowledge and expertise in the fields of Architecture, Industrial Design and Applied Mycology.

Bio fabricated Materials in Design: Utilizing Natural Bio mechanisms of Fungi to Develop Novel Mycelium Composites in Industrial Design

The constant increase in global waste and depletion of natural resources, along with recent trends engaging advanced bio-fabrication tools to designers and architects, has recently led to the development of novel bio-based materials. In this work, the potential of treating regional organic waste with fungi, to produce natural bio-composites as an alternative for synthetic materials currently used in design and architecture products is investigated.
The proposed research integrates biotechnological tools and methods with design research and development process, to modify materials for specific functions and uses, in a bottom-up approach. According to our literature review, current academic research in this field is very limited, and does not employ the full potential of harnessing biological mechanisms as novel design tools. In addition, so far, no research has been found in which all the significant variables affecting material characteristics were systematically tested nor described. The proposed research methodology is based on an integrated material driven design process, fusing bio-chemical, physio-mechanical and functional material aspects. A preliminary study examined the suitability several fungal species to develop on regional agricultural wastes. In the proposed research, as a first step, the adjustment of few more fungal species to develop on apple and vine substrates was evaluated.
The current stage of the research tests several fabrication methods, aiming to locate other manufacturing techniques besides using plastic molds and reveal and control unique functional and aesthetic qualities of mycelium-based bio-composites through hands-on design explorations. Meanwhile, we use biotechnological methods to analyze compositional changes in plant and fungal matter during fermentation and evaluate their relations to final material properties. Accordingly, various biochemical modifications and fabrication methods will be indicated to attain target material properties. In the final stage, several design case-studies will facilitate to fuse biotechnological tools with design research principles and validate the feasibility of obtained materials to selected applications, by matching shape, matter and purpose, through functional and aesthetic values.

Mycelium; Bio-composite; Bio-fabrication, Bio-design, Sustainable Biotechnology, Circular design

Relevant links



– Noam Attias, Ofer Danai, Nirit Ezov, Ezri Tarazi, Yasha J. Grobman, “Developing novel applications of mycelium-based bio-composite materials for design and architecture” Proceedings of COST ACTION FP1303, building with bio-based materials: Best practice and performance specification, September 2017. Zagreb, Croatia.
– Attias, N. “Biological Materials – Cabinets of Curiosities”. In “LifeObject – Emerging Biology and Architecture book”. Eds. Bachelet, I. Bauer, B. Blonder, A. Eylat, Y. Lazarovitch, N. Israeli Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale. Stern-Thal Pres. Montreal. Canada. Pp123-130. 2016.

• Bio-fabrication- Fusing Industrial design and Biotechnology
• Developing sustainable biological materials in architecture and design.
• Nano-bio-materials, Sustainable materials.
• Applied Mycology – using fungal materials in design and architecture.
• Circular Design, Critical Design Thinking, Multispecies Design.

Mycelium based composites using regional pruning waste as substrate

In this work, several fungi species were grown on varied local agricultural-growth wastes to evaluate which pair of fungi-plant material features the most suitable combination for future applications. The fungi; Pleurotus pulmonarius, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus salmoneostramineus and Aaegerita agrocibe where grown on woodchips of Eucalyptus, Oak, Pine, Apple and vine. The samples were tested for selected properties, including chemical changes in organic matter (pH, electric conductivity, water, carbon and nitrogen contents), mycelium growth rate, density and quality impression. By examining these fundamental materials characteristics, we aim to achieve a thorough understanding of the structural and aesthetic opportunities that this novel bio-material should offer. The current stage of the research shows that the most efficient integrations where the samples of P. ostreatus grown on Apple or Vine woodchips. Future work will focus on using suitable analytical methods for further understanding of the changes in mycelium and plant structures during the digestion process and locating essential variable parameters of previous and post processing, to achieve desired material properties and introduce innovative characteristics and functions over existing industrial products and applications.


Rachel Getz Solomon

PhD candidate

Prof Ezri Tarazi
Prof Tamar Elor

Rachel Gets Salomon is a Doctoral candidate in the Design Department of the Architecture Faculty at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. She has a Research M.A. in Cultur Studies from The Open University, Tel-Aviv Campus, summa cum laude, and B.F.A. in Art and Design from the Jewelry and Fashion Design Department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. Rachel is a Curator of fashion and identity exhibitions, and the curator of the International Stone Sculpting Symposium in Israel. As of 2015 she is a member of the Experimental Art and Architecture Lab in the Technion. Rachel is teaching courses in Basic Design A, Basic Design B, at the Architecture Faculty, the Technion

Research: Dressed for War – the Metamorphosis of the Military Skirt

This research project examine the relationship between form, material, and self experience through a specifically designed object – the skirt. Over the course of history, the skirt has become a feminine item. In pre-modern fashion as well as in the modern one, except for ethnic and folkloristic appearances such as the Scottish skirt, a proposal for a masculine skirt did not exist. Since the end of the last century, postmodern fashion has formulated several such proposals, although they have not yet become widespread and accepted. The transformation of the skirt into a feminine clothing item has led to the skirt being perceived to be associated with femininity to the point of turning it into a metonymy for femininity. In the cultural sphere, the skirt is located in different fields of gender-related reference, which also relate to ethnic, sectoral and personal characteristics.

The skirt is one of the most ancient, varied and long-lived forms of clothing. Throughout history, skirts were an item of clothing that involved masculinity and its demonstration. They exposed the male leg to display the body part that symbolizes masculine bravery. In ancient Egypt, the men wore short skirts known as Shendyt, that was adopted into ancient Egyptian culture from the clothing repertoire of the ancient hunter, for whom the skirt was the ultimate garment, that allowed maximum freedom of movement. The skirt was the exclusive and most common item of masculine dress and was excluded from female attire.

In the early Middle Ages in Europe, warriors from all combat units wore skirts. For some reasons, in the late Middle Ages, the skirt gradually entered the female wardrobe and became an important item in it. Ultimately, the skirt transformed from the ideal item for war, to a “feminine” item that asserts inability to fight and marks the defamiliarization and exclusion from the combat units. Its design changed from a liberating comfortable clothing to a movement-limiting object that attests to the person wearing it as inability  to fight  and even asserts her confinement to specific and “feminine” roles within the military establishment. The research examine the metamorphosis of the skirt – from the ultimate clothing item for war, to a “feminine” item of clothing that asserts the inability to fight and marks the defamiliarization and exclusion from the combat units. This is how it appears in popular representations of women fighters such as Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Electra, Jessica Jones, Captain Marvel and more, as they are depicted in pants or underpants, but not in skirts.

skirt, military skirt, warriors, women in the army, medieval dress, women’s wear, Wonder Woman