Making It: Ohio City Studio Sees Future When Architecture Can Fight Viruses

Making It

Editor’s note: This is part of a series exploring how Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs and small businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and their plans for moving forward.

Maker: Chris Maurer, founder and architect

Business: redhouse studio, an architecture firm and research collaborative that makes building materials out of waste products

What have you been working on since we last spoke?

“The business has kind of blossomed into a few different categories. We discussed the Biocycler, which is about recycling construction and demolition waste. And it’s about promoting environmental justice through remediation in toxic environments. We’re also working with researchers at NASA to produce a structure that can actually grow itself off-planet. And we’re working with researchers at MIT to produce food and jobs and shelter in the same processes for a project that we’re working on in Namibia. So those are our three main projects that we’re working with the same, similar technology that we discussed. I was actually supposed to be in Namibia now working on this project and travel has become very challenging, if not impossible, but we were fortunate enough to build a really strong team in Namibia that’s able to continue to work on the project in the meantime although it’s been slowed quite a bit.”

How have you been staying creative?

“We’ve been doing a lot to stay creative. We are producing materials that we’re going to be using for testing. We’re normally, actively testing all our materials, optimizing them and then sending them to the labs to see how strong they are in different metrics too as one would expect through building materials. Unfortunately, some of those are usually through universities that have been shut down now. Kind of getting back to some of our roots of producing some art with the materials and doing creative things. We’re looking for new opportunities, new partners for funding. And a lot of our medical researchers are obviously busy now, kind of pivoting to what we know best, which is design and kind of retooling the design and making things ourselves and actually producing value-added products instead of a lot of the lab work that’s been occupying our time for the last couple years.”

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