Max Butler

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The Synthetic Slaughterhouse: Coined the ‘frankenburger’, many are repulsed by lab grown in-vitro meat, seeing it as an affront to nature. Yet there are many animal rights groups and environmental activists excited about its potential to reduce the carbon footprint, land usage and animal suffering inherent to the meat industry.
As the stockyard capital of America, Chicago has undergone economic changes in relation to its livestock industry. The Synthetic Slaughterhouse proposes a future renewal of the city’s relationship to beef, through a cutting edge relationship to the in-vitro meat industry, sited in the newly ‘gentrified’ meat packing buildings now occupied by the likes of Google.
The building presents the process to the carnivorous American public, but in an altogether different light. The architecture represents a compression of the sprawling American agricultural landscape given over to grazing. Constructed from ‘grown’ materials such as bacterial brick and microbial cellulose, the building expounds the delights, possibilities and advantages of synthetic biology. Taking traditional techniques and reapplying them with different, bacterial materials, or by creating skins that breath, sweat and ventilate through their pores, the project becomes a centre for a new Chicagoan industry, that uses advanced industrial methods and novel materials to reinvent beef.

Max’s third year work was awarded the Environmental Design prize, for his studies into the use of bacteria in the growing of architectural materials.

  • Filed under: Student Work 2013-14