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5.11.12

Architect Jack Munroe is an expert in designing homes using all sorts of bricks.


But now he has given a whole new meaning to the term 'red brick house' - by making them from animal blood.The London-based architecture graduate believes his controversial building material could replace mud bricks used in less-developed countries.
Munroe, 26, uses approximately 30 litres of fresh cattle blood collected from an abattoir in Sussex for each 'Blood Brick'.

He mixes the blood with a preservative and sand to solidify it before popping it in an oven where the mixture is baked for an hour at 70C to produce a stable and waterproof material.Munroe, 26, said: 'The reaction I get from people tends to range from amazement to disgust - but I think the bricks have very serious potential.'

The former University of Nottingham student plans to build a whole prototype house in Egypt from his bricks.The project was developed over the last 12 months as his final work for a master's degree at University of Westminster.


Building blocks: The blood red bricks can be used instead of steel, says Jack.Munroe said: "I was looking for alternative substances and techniques to solidify aggregate materials like sand especially in Saharan desert communities and in Egypt.

'You have to ask yourself, is it right that every building is made of concrete and steel when those materials are not necessarily locally available and not required for single storey buildings?'Those materials, in those areas, are unsustainable and use of them does not benefit the local economy or workforce.'I looked at salt crystals but settled on blood a binder through research on the internet.
'In Africa, blood is used to make renders for buildings more durable.'Historically, blood was always used as a base in the production of glue until synthetic materials came along. So I knew blood could be used.'

He discussed his idea with farmers and was recommended to the Sussex abattoir which agreed to let him take away some of their blood.

He collected it himself in buckets and added an anti-coagulant to stop it clotting and a preservative to stop it rotting.


He then returned to university to make up his bricks with a 50-50 ration of blood to sand.


Munro admits that a house built of blood bricks may not be to everyone's taste.


He said: "Whether people want to live in a house made of blood bricks remains to be seen.


'What I have achieved is proof of concept but there is still a great deal of work to be done on baking techniques and humidity control amongst other things to find the best way of producing blood bricks."


Munro has now landed a job an architectural practice in London where he hopes to continue his research.

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