Home and downloads  —  Prof. Wolf Hilbertz

Austin, Texas 1972
Joe Mathis, Wolf Hilbertz, Neal Barkhurst
Bali, Indonesia 2004
Tom Goreau, Narayana Randall Dodge, Wolf Hilbertz

Accretion Statement

Since the death of Wolf Hilbertz in 2007, the culture surrounding biorock/mineral accretion technology has not always reflected the ideal levels of responsive openness, professionalism and innovation that Wolf Hilbertz stood for. The Estate of Wolf Hilbertz - the unified Hilbertz family - seeks to correct this development.

Besides being an architect, Wolf Hilbertz was also a dedicated university professor (Professor of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, Assistant Professor at Southern University Louisiana and Guest Professor for MacGill University, among others) who shared the technology’s principles often and openly in the form of projects, talks and workshops. We want to encourage interested parties to continue to discover, explore and enhance the process. Mineral accretion has a range of applications; the technology’s potential is directly related to its range of users and developers.

The Estate of Wolf Hilbertz would also like to clarify the following:

The patents and trademarks have expired. The technology can be used freely. Using electrolysis specifically to grow construction material and artificial reefs was a novel approach in the 1970s and 80s. Hilbertz patented and trademarked the process, and eventually developed additional patents in partnership with others. All U.S. and international patents have since expired.

Nonetheless, practical experience with the technology has always been - and remains - crucial to successful outcomes. The Estate remains interested in providing access to such resources where possible.

Wolf Hilbertz is the sole inventor of mineral accretion. Hilbertz invented the process for creating structures in seawater in 1976. Scientific work on the topic of mineral accretion was first published by Wolf Hilbertz in the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering in 1979. Wolf Hilbertz was, however, always deeply collaborative in approach. He never failed to credit others for critical roles in the development or, as he might have put it, ‘evolution’ of the process.

In this spirit, we aim for a transparent and collaborative culture surrounding the use and further development of mineral accretion. We encourage eager minds ranging from scientists and students to divers and doers to spark underwater change.


Professor Wolf Hilbertz authored a wide selection of papers and publications throughout the 69 year course of his life. A selection of some of his work is available here as downloads. Wolf's seminal 1979 IEEE paper is posted with the permission of the IEEE Intellectual Property Rights Office. For more information on accretion / biorock projects or to contact the Estate of Wolf Hilbertz, please see the Contact page.

Some of these documents are scanned image files, not text, so their file size is relatively large. For PDFs, if you don't have Adobe Reader, you can click on the button at left or get it here:

1970 Toward Cybertecture, in: Progressive Architecture, May 1970, PDF 2.9 MB
- large scan of page 98, JPEG 3.1 MB
- large scan of page 99, JPEG 3.0 MB
- large scan of page 100, JPEG 3.0 MB
- large scan of page 101, JPEG 2.7 MB
- large scan of page 102, JPEG 2.7 MB
- large scan of page 103, JPEG 3.2 MB

1972 Strategies for Evolutionary Environments, in: The Responsive House, MIT May 1972, PDF 0.7 MB

1979 Electrodeposition of Minerals in Sea Water: Experiments and Applications, in: IEEE Journal on Oceanic Engineering, Vol. OE-4, No. 3, pp. 94–113, 1979, PDF 11.3 MB

1987 Alloplastic-Autoplastic, Newton, MA 1987, PDF 0.1 MB

1987 Electro-Accretion, Newton, MA 1987, PDF 0.1 MB

1991 W. Hilbertz Manifesto, in Architecture and Nature, SFB 230, University Stuttgart and University Tuebingen, 2, 119-127 1992, PDF 0.1 MB

2002 Second Expedition to Saya de Malha, by Frank Gutzeit, Hilbertz + Goreau, August 2002, PDF 2.2 MB