The Bartlett School of Architecture


Bio-ID student Prantar Tamuli awarded the BPS Irène Manton Prize

20 January 2021

Congratulations to Prantar, who was recognised at the 69th annual conference of the British Phycological Society.

Demonstration of the biomineralised photosynthetic engineered living material

Prantar received the award for his presentation at the conference on ‘Developing photosynthetic biomineralised Engineered Living Material with filamentous blue-green algae’, and will receive a prize of £250. 

The British Phycological Society is a charity devoted to the study of algae, and their annual conference brings together some of the most advanced current research in the field. The prestigious Irène Manton Prize celebrates the best presentation given at their annual conference.

Algae has found a prominent place at the intersection of biotechnological and architectural research and design, particularly in examinations of how cutting-edge biologically integrated innovations in the built environment, and the synergy of manmade materials and living organisms, can help to mitigate environmental problems and climate change. The Bartlett’s Bio-ID Lab has been a leader in this exciting field.


Engineered Living Materials are new biologically augmented smart materials whose assembly and properties are governed by living cells. Stromatolites are naturally biomineralised living rock formations made by cyanobacterial communities that grow over hundreds of years. By combining principles from tissue engineering, machine learning and construction science, this research adapted this natural phenomenon to create a biomineralised photosynthetic engineered living material (BP-ELM) that can be grown in a span of weeks. The BP-ELM is rigid, translucent and actively photosynthesising, and thus presents a revolutionary opportunity to create a carbon-negative living architecture to alter the course of climate change.

Project supervision: Anete Salmane, Alexandra Lacatusu, Ian Robinson
Thesis supervision: Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer
Programme Directors: Prof Marcos Cruz, Dr Brenda Parker

Winning this award was a wonderful feeling. But more than anything else, it has instilled a sense of hope. Biotechnological research in the field of architecture is a recently emerged endeavour and this research being recognised by one of the most renowned scientific bodies in the UK is perhaps an indication that a new shift towards biologically integrated architecture is pragmatically possible. I am deeply grateful to my supervisors and tutors without whose guidance the development of this Engineered Living Material would not have been possible at all."

- Prantar Tamuli

More information

Image: Demonstration of the Biomineralised Photosynthetic Engineered Living Material, Prantar Tamuli