A reef made of biocement

Industrial designer Mary Lempres created a biocement reef structure grown by plants that was designed to restore natural reefs.

Unlike conventional cement, the biocement is made of plant waste, which is turned into a crude extract without the use of heat or otherwise burning fossil fuels. The extract is then mixed with crushed aggregate, including crushed glass and oyster shells collected at local restaurants and the New York Harbour. After three to nine days, the plant extract causes minerals to form bridges between the aggregate, creating a concrete material that is comparable to conventional concrete.

The structure, called Reef Rocket, consists of two biocement elements with a ridged surface. When assembled, it resembles a rocket. The structure was designed for communities most impacted by rising sea levels, by fabricating and restoring natural reefs. These reefs reduce coastal flooring, promote biodiversity and filter water.

Photos: Mary Lampres