24 Ago Is Fungi The Future of Construction?
The environmental crisis we’re facing is not going anywhere unless we take solid actions. Nowadays, we’re living in a time where the need to find more sustainable ways to develop our projects, to execute our ideas and to preserve our natural resources and reduce our carbon footprint to its minimum extent is not only important but urgent and unavoidable. During the efforts towards this purpose, several brilliant ideas have come to life, giving us hope and inspiring us to continue forging our path towards a better future for the planet and for humankind also. One of these great alternatives is mycelium: a revolutionary idea that can change the world of construction.
Mycelium is a part of mushrooms that is extracted from their roots. This sort of fiber, which consists in little threads called hyphae, has proven to be a quite interesting alternative for several construction purposes. It’s a sustainable material due to different reasons. It’s made from agricultural waste like straw and fungi spores, and it doesn’t require any heat nor energy, just room temperature, in order to get the consistency it needs.
It is fire resistant, durable, mouldable, environmentally friendly, carbon neutral and compostable. It can replace plastics and chemicals, as well as other materials that have a considerable carbon footprint, turning the construction industry into one of the biggest hazards for our planet. In addition, it offers termite proofing and it works as a highly efficient and more healthy insulation material for houses in extreme weather surroundings.
The first time that mycelium was used was not too long ago, in 2014. The project, which was named Hy-Fi, was developed by The Living, a brilliant architectural team. It was placed in the courtyard of MoMA’S PS1 space in Manhattan, and it consisted of bricks made from mycelium that was grown on agricultural waste. This tower was formed by 10,00 bricks and was 40 feet high during three months. Afterwards, when the tower was disassembled, the team composted the bricks and provided soil to community gardens.
An example of the impact that mycelium can have in terms of environmental care, is its potential role in biocycling, where demolition waste is mixed with mycelium in order to add industrial level strength that merges with the bricks as the material grows. This hybrid material can be turned into bricks and can provide a really valuable alternative against housing issues by recycling old homes and renewing them. It can also be a great solution for zones beaten by natural disasters and other circumstances of emergency.
There’s still a long way to go for mycelium to be perfectioned and for its use to be widespread throughout the world. However, it is an impressive example of the infinite opportunities that are yet to be found in order to continue forging a sustainable path for all industries. It’s important to support these initiatives and encourage a radical change in every single level of the construction industry. It’s time to take full responsibility for our impact on the environment and to turn the wheel towards a better future for all. YOU MUST READ Construction Materials that Are Changing the World
- Maria Saxton, “Mycelium Fungi as a Building Material”, Rise, https://www.buildwithrise.com/stories/mycelium-fungi-as-a-building-material
- “Mycelium as a Construction Material”, Bio Based Press, https://www.biobasedpress.eu/2020/04/mycelium-as-a-construction-material/
- Ilvy Bonnefin, “Emerging Materials: Mycelium Brick”, Certified Energy, https://www.certifiedenergy.com.au/emerging-materials/emerging-materials-mycelium-brick