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Fungi Architecture


In collaboration with Yinxi Lu and Grown.bio
Research Project
2020


In this project architects/designers Nina van Hoogstraten and Yinxi Lu are exploring the use of a new bio-based material, mycelium, as an architectural building material. Mycelium is the root network of a fungus, which is able to upcycle agricultural waste into a low-cost, sustainable and biodegradable solid material.





Research question


Can we use mycelium as an architectural and structural building material?






Aim


Use mycelium to create a sustainable, modular and self-supporting, construction element, that can be used to build a small, demountable structure.
The aim of the project is to design a sustainable, modular and self- supporting construction element, that can be used to build a small, demountable structure. The individual elements are to be designed so that they interlock, drawing on the ancient principle of stereotomy.
Stereotomy is the art of cutting stone blocks and assembling them into a stand-alone complex devoid of adhesives, braces or other material.




Intended results


•  Modular construction element

A sustainable, modular and self-supporting construction element made of agricultural waste and mycelium, that can be used to build a small, demountable structure. The aim is to make a mock-up of at least 1,5 m (width) by 2 m (height) of multiple modular elements.

•  Production method

A production method to make a self-supporting building material with mycelium and agricultural waste.

•  Results design process

Documented in a small physical publication. Presentation / exhibition of the project at a location in Rotterdam.
The challenge of this project is to use mycelium to make a self-supporting architectural building material, not just for decorative purposes, so there is no need for an additional support structure made out of other materials.

Such an application of mycelium is unexplored and using mycelium for architectural purposes is still in an experimental phase. That is why Nina and Yinxi are collaborating with Grown.bio in Hedel (NL), a biotechnology company specialised in producing interior products, packaging and building products (insulation panels) of mycelium.

For Grown.bio this project could result in a new application of mycelium within the field of architecture, and thus create a new market, making the building industry more sustainable.



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