Architect Christopher Maurer is captivated with mushrooms, however not by way of their culinary purposes, extra in regards to the architectural potential. He’s satisfied that using mycelium, i.e., the filaments that mushrooms use as roots, is likely one of the keys. It’s a fireproof materials, proof against mould and water, and may attain the next hardness than concrete on the identical weight. Though slower than that of different building options equivalent to concrete, its manufacturing course of is comparatively easy. It’s ample to inject the dwelling mycelium into an natural substrate to develop and take the specified form. Then, after a warmth therapy to interrupt development, it hardens and is prepared to be used. The substrate can be created from all types of waste, from agricultural waste to supplies from demolition websites. And that is not all: the mycelium can take any form relying on the mould chosen.
Maurer is just not the one staunch advocate of a self-discipline that might be known as mycotecture. One other instance is the Hy-Fi tower, designed by architect David Benjamin. The construction was constructed from 10,000 mycelium bricks as a part of an indication at MoMa, New York’s museum of recent artwork. Nonetheless, Maurer is transferring on to extra superior ideas in sustainable structure.
Biocycler, a transportable machine for producing mycelium bricks
We just lately talked about Trashpresso, a plastic recycling machine on wheels that produces constructing slabs and has traveled so far as the Himalayan peaks. Nonetheless, it’s not the one moveable system that makes use of waste to generate constructing supplies. Biocycler relies on an identical idea, though as an alternative of manufacturing plastic supplies, it creates mycelium bricks. The first uncooked materials is wooden and cellulose-based waste from building.
The Biocycler is a transportable container that may be moved to any waste-rich location. The machine processes the wooden, removes varnishes and different chemical compounds, and at last produces the mycelium bricks. For now, its first construction is a metropolis with 500,000 inhabitants. However not people; as an alternative, it’ll home a colony of bees.
Biohab, mycotecture in Namibia
One other of their initiatives is Biohab, created in collaboration with MIT. Though the philosophy is comparable, the method is barely totally different. As an alternative of utilizing building waste, this machine makes use of invasive shrubs equivalent to Acacia mellifera. The shrubs are processed on-site, and, along with producing bricks for home building, edible mushrooms are obtained. Together with bricks and mushrooms, gas and animal feed can be made. The pilot undertaking happened in Namibia, a area the place the Acacia mellifera is quite common and on the identical time is in dire want of low-priced constructing supplies.
From MIT to NASA
Nonetheless, if there’s one place with tough entry to constructing supplies, it’s Mars. Thus, these initiatives centered on using fungi have aroused NASA’s curiosity, which considers mycotecture as a viable different for constructing housing options on different planets. The U.S. company is funding a undertaking primarily based on sending algae and fungal spores to the pink planet. As soon as there, because of the prevailing water within the subsoil, algae development might be stimulated. Subsequently, the mycelium would feed on this natural matter to supply the required bricks or modules. The aim is to ship people there by 2030, so the race to design new architectural options for Mars is already underway.
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