Compostable tower made of fungi & agricultural waste to rise in NYC

The Living
© The Living

We've seen the amazing versatility of biologically-based bricks, or "bio-bricks" -- be they made from bacteria, sand, mushrooms or even urine and wool. Now New York City-based design studio The Living will be building a tower made out of cornstalks and mushrooms for the annual summer festivities hosted by the Museum of Modern Art's PS1 Gallery, located in Queens.

© The Living

Hy-Fi, The Living's winning competition entry for MoMA's Young Architects Program (YAP) will involve a temporary structure constructed out of cultivated bio-bricks and other recycled materials. The materials -- consisting of agricultural byproducts and fungal mycelium as a kind of bio-adhesive -- will be made in collaboration with sustainable building company Ecovative, says Dezeen.

© The Living

The organically twisting towers will be topped with reflective bricks, made with 3M daylighting mirror film that would have been initially used as brick molds. The recycled trays will help reflect natural sunlight down into the tower's interior, creating lovely light patterns. Paradoxically, the structure will seem "thin and porous" at the bottom, and is designed to establish a cooler interior micro-climate through the stack effect.

© The Living
© The Living

It's encouraging to see a large-scale public project of this size that will be made out of bio-bricks, and boast near zero-carbon emissions during construction, in addition to being 100 percent compostable. Here's MoMA's press release:

Using biological technologies combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering to create new building materials, The Living will use a new method of bio-design, resulting in a structure that is 100% organic material. The structure temporarily diverts the natural carbon cycle to produce a building that grows out of nothing but earth and returns to nothing but earth - with almost no waste, no energy needs, and no carbon emissions. This approach offers a new vision for society's approach to physical objects and the built environment. It also offers a new definition of local materials, and a direct relationship to New York State agriculture and innovation culture, New York City artists and non-profits, and Queens community gardens.

© The Living

Hy-Fi will open in June at MoMA's PS1 Gallery in Long Island City, Queens. For more information, check out The Living's and Ecovative's websites, and the MoMA PS1 website.

Tags: Agriculture | Architecture | Recycled Building Materials