The Bartlett School of Architecture


Nina Jotanovic

Speculative Siliceous Scaffolds, Photo Credit: Nina Jotanovic


Pearlescent Architecture: Augmenting Perceptual through Growth of Biomineralised Veneers

First and second supervisors 


Materiality has always driven advances in architecture. Its importance spans from physical properties and mechanical performances to overall personal impression of a space. Last century brought many advances in material science and created a vast array of synthetic materials for architectural use. But majority of these materials have two great limitations that need to be addressed urgently.

Most fabrication processes include harsh conditions – extreme ph levels, high pressure and/or high temperature. This in turn increases atmospheric carbon-dioxide and contributes greatly to global warming. We are in a moment where consequences of rise in temperature are tangible and it is a critical time to find novel routes to benign material fabrication.

Additionally, majority of the synthetic materials exhibit lack of character when compared to natural ones and as such are not able to contribute to sensorial experience of the space. Process of material creation is crucial to address both challenges. In nature biomineralization creates materials at ambient temperatures and with exquisite perceptual and performative properties.

Adopting principals of biomineralization in the lab can shift our methods from synthesising to growing and create new generation of materials able to actively participate in Earth cycles and engage with users.


EPSRC and UCL Doctoral Training Programme, Industrial Partners: Michael Pelken (P+ Studio) and Andy Bow (Fosters + Partners)


Nina Jotanovic studied architecture at the University of Belgrade. She then moved to Barcelona to pursue a Master's degree at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, where she focused on material innovation, advanced manufacturing and biology.

Before starting her PhD research at The Bartlett School of Architecture and UCL Chemical Engineering, Nina worked at Miralles Tagliabue EMBT in Barcelona and at IaaC as teaching assistant at C-Biom.A thesis studio. She has exhibited at Construmat (Beyond Buildings) and Cerretger 5 Gallery in Barcelona, Biofabricate Conference in New York and London Design Festival. She is currently Activities Coordinator and Thesis Tutor for Bio-Integrated Design MArch/MSc at The Bartlett.

Image: Speculative Siliceous Scaffolds, Photo Credit: Nina Jotanovic