Living Bricks

Exploring the past, present and future of the brick

Poster for Living Bricks


Until Monday 7 May

Visitor information


During museum opening hours


Temporary exhibition space (formerly the Mithraeum), Hadrian’s Wall gallery, ground floor


Free entry, donations welcome. No booking required

More information to help you plan your visit


Bricks have been the construction units of our homes and cities since the dawn of civilisation. You wouldn’t normally think of them as alive, but it’s possible that the bricks of the future will do far more than just shelter us.

As technology advances, scientists are designing new ‘living’ bricks that will house microorganisms we can make use of. Some will release energy that can provide small amounts of power, while others will make useful new molecules like biodegradable soaps.

The relationship between the built and natural environment is changing and it’s possible that someday the way to heal a stressed ecosystem will be to make a building, rather than to demolish one.

This new mini-exhibition explores the past, present and exciting future of the humble brick.