Although we’re surrounded by millions of them every day, most of us don’t think about bricks too often. For thousands of years, the humble clay-fired brick hasn’t changed. The building blocks of modern suburban homes would be familiar to the city planners of ancient Babylon, the bricklayers of the Great Wall of China, or the builders of Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
But the brick as we know it causes significant environmental problems, by using up raw, finite materials and creating carbon emissions. That’s why Gabriela Medero, a professor of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering at Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University, decided to reinvent it.
Originally from Brazil, Medero says she was drawn to civil engineering because it gave her passion for maths and physics a practical outlet. As she became aware of the construction industry’s sustainability issues, she started looking for solutions. With her university’s support, Medero joined forces with fellow engineer Sam Chapman and set up Kenoteq in 2009.