Putting the fun in fungus!
LATEST STORYPICNIC to set out a new course in 2013
Following up on the short interview on the Urban Escape boat, Mitchell Joachim and Oliver Medvedik presented their work in the Crystal Palace. They are looking into ways of growing organic building materials. The technique they use is actually fairly simple in principle. Using a scaffolding of any shape, an organic material is forced to grow in a certain direction, creating the desired shape. Joachim and Medvedik showed some sketches of trees being grown into houses using the same principle. Time is a factor here; a simple arch-shape across a road would take about 10 years to grow, depending on environmental circumstances. The biggest benefit of this process is that it's 100% organic. There's no impact on the environment - in fact, environment is exactly what it is!
Wood isn't the only material that can be shaped in this way. Joachim and Medvedik showed us concepts of houses built of meat and building material grown from fungi. Now, living in a house made of fungus may sound rather unappealing, considering how this material generally looks. The two colleagues have thought of that. They're working on ways to customize finishes on the mushroom bricks without killing the organism inside.
In the second half of the presentation, the audience got to work on creating their own custom shapes from fungi. This process is actually fairly easy to replicate at home. Using a DIY vacuuming device, a hotplate, and a metal caging, you can create a shape into a sheet of styrene. Put the prepped fungus into the shape, wrap it in aluminum foil, keep it somewhere dark and damp, and after a while your fungus will have grown into the desired shape!
This kind of architecture shows real promise for an environmentally sustainable and responsible future!