Monika – Alumna
Monika studied the specialisation ‘Spatial Experiments’ – previously offered in the Master's programme in Architecture. The new Master's programme, Digital Architecture and Emergent Futures, mainly build on that specialisation. Since the alumni of this interview studied ‘Spatial Experiments’, she has studied the majority of the courses currently offered in Digital Architecture and Emergent Futures.
What year did you graduate?
"I graduated in 2018."
What was your experience of the programme and the learning environment?
"I chose this programme specifically because of its experimental character. I knew I wanted to work in the field of space architecture. Spatial Experiments gave me a perfect base to start. Experiences with designing for extreme environments (Sahara Desert), research on biomimicry, manufacturing methods and prototyping, and bottom-up approach – together with incredible constant support from my supervisors – all had an immense effect on my next steps into the world of space architecture and design for extreme environments."
What is your current job and where is it located?
"I’m a PhD Candidate at the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE), at Newcastle University in the UK. I am researching growth as an alternative approach to the construction of extraterrestrial habitats, in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center. I am developing a biofabrication strategy for stabilising regolith using mycelium, to construct inhabitable structures, in resource-limited Martian conditions. Within the HBBE I have also co-founded Bio-Futures for Transplanetary Habitats – a research group aiming to explore and enable interdisciplinary research on transplanetary habitats and habitats within extreme environments through an emphasis on the bio-social and biotechnological relations."
What else have you done since you graduated?
"A few months after I graduated from Lund University, I started my second Master’s Studies (MSc in Space Studies) at International Space University. Combining both experiences, I did internships at the Astrobiology and Life Science Lab in Bio and Bio-Inspired Technologies at NASA Ames Research Center, which led to my current position."
How are you changing the industry or the world (in a large or small way)?
"I am researching and designing inhabitable environments for the planet Earth and beyond. The final goal is to be as independent as possible, to be able to stay for a long time in space without depending on supplies from Earth. Blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological give a great opportunity to master technology, architecture as a complete design system, and allow to design beyond stereotypes of what architecture is considered to be, making long-term human space exploration possible!
The concept of a biodegradable, rapidly deployable, growing and self-healing structure, potentially with embedded biosensors, which responses to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 9, 11 and 12. Combining ideologies of the circular economy and human-centered design – together with the use of biotechnology to create sustainable, adaptable construction systems, resembling ecosystems – my research aims to respond to the need for a more holistic approach to building design. Hence, providing new ways to manage construction, growth, repair, replication and energy savings."
What do you miss most from your time at Lund University?
"Being constantly surrounded by incredibly creative people; Walls covered with ideas, inspiration, drawings, sketches, prototypes, and ‘fika’ (coffee breaks)!"