Second Building in UAB's Shelby Biomedical Complex to be Constructed Entirely of Pork
UAB (JM) - Laboratory staffers at UAB's Heflin Center believe that they have perfected the technology needed to produce the millions of Porkbricks™ needed for construction of the second phase
of the Richard C. and Annette Shelby Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Complex on UAB's campus.
Research director Mohammed Chatha was excited about the milestone: "By using Porkbricks™, we are demonstrating not only the potential for bioengineering technology in the construction sector, but also cementing our prime position at the head of this emerging field, which will help us secure additional Federal research dollars down the road, perhaps even after Senator Shelby's retirement."
Porkbricks™ are created using a series of technological advances pioneered at UAB's Howell and Elizabeth Heflin Center for Porcine Genetics (creators of the all-outside meat
pig in 2002) as well as research made possible by UAB's long-standing partnership with the Jenkins Brick Company of Montgomery, which lobbied on Goat Hill for the funding that allowed UAB to pursue pork as a building material. Each Porkbrick™ is the approximate size and shape of a regular clay brick, but, unlike clay which has to be mined from the ground, they are made entirely of pork, a renewable resource. Further research will determine the best ratio of inside meat to outside meat for various exposure conditions, and determine whether Porkbrick
assemblies should use thick tomato-based mortar, or a thinner, stronger, vinegar base.
"Porkbrick™ technology is going to be an important part of the emerging demand for 'green building' technology," said campus architect Jim C. James, "by using Porkbricks™ in the new Shelby Center building, we will be able to achieve a Silver rating from the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) council without sacrificing our treasured air-conditioning." James added that LEED certification would also qualify the Center to apply for tax breaks and other governmental incentives, "None of this would be possible without our deep and sustained commitment to pork."