Would you live in a house of blood?

Blood Bricks

Annually, people consume over 250,000,000 tons of meat worldwide1. With all of this meat being produced and eaten, blood has become one of the most common waste materials in the world. Blood bricks are a new and innovative (and somewhat disgusting) building material developed by architect Jack Munro that utilizes this waste. Sand and blood are used in place of mud and water to create this earthen brick that can be used as a low cost building material.

Blood is mixed with sand and preservatives and then baked at 160°F for an hour to produce a structurally stable and waterproof brick2. Munro has done many experiments with this material and has found it to be as stable as traditional mud bricks, if not more so. He has also experimented with other methods of using blood in construction. One idea was to pour tons of blood over a sand dune with protective objects left in areas where you want to create apertures in the final structure. Once the blood has coagulated into a shell over the dune, wind is allowed to blow away the loose sand underneath leaving a large structure of blood and sand2. But even if this is a cheap and eco-friendly building material, will people accept it?

Blood Dune Construction

In many cultures using blood is considered to be disgusting or taboo. Islamic cultures consider blood to be Najis, or dirty, and even contact with blood is taboo3. Judaism considers blood to carry the life of the animal and thus cannot be consumed by humans3. In some cases, cultural taboos against blood, like these, may not be an issue as the blood here is not being eaten. But even so, Munro may find it hard to convince people to live in a house made out of blood and sand.

“How to Do Animal Rights – Meat Consumption Statistics – How Much People Eat.” How to Do Animal Rights – Meat Consumption Statistics – How Much People Eat. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.animalethics.org.uk/i-ch7-6-meat-consumption.html&gt;.

Munro, Jack. “Blood Bricks | Jack Munro Architecture Design Photography.” Blood Bricks | Jack Munro Architecture Design Photography. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://www.jsmunro.co.uk/?portfolio=blood-bricks-3&gt;.

“Taboo Food and Drink.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboo_food_and_drink&gt;.

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One comment

  1. smit5912

    A few weeks ago when this was originally posted the title caught my attention and I quickly scanned the post. Talking about it in class on Tuesday and reading the other response made me think deeper about the article. The post discusses various cultural concerns surrounding the use of blood and the negative energy that comes with it.

    It is excellent that ways are being developed to control and reduce the amount of blood being wasted through the slaughtering of animals. The thought of blood being used as a building material is striking and pretty creepy. I’m a vegetarian and I don’t believe that I would feel comfortable inhabiting a space made out of blood bricks. It’s a great way to reduce waste, but if the animals were slaughtered with the intent to be eaten, that would go against my beliefs.

    I would have to say, though, even if I were not a vegetarian I would feel some weird vibes being in a space built of blood bricks. The psychological effect on a person who is inside the building would be interesting to examine. It would be neat to see how a person felt inside the building without knowing the structural composition versus someone who knew all about the space that they were entering. If I were a designer I would try to make a way to completely disguise the bricks from looking any different than a normal brick. The bricks in the images above look like fatty blocks of steak or something. Regardless, I feel that if blood is used as a building material everyone who enters the space should be warned about the structural materials, in case they feel uncomfortable.

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