Mycotecture: Building with Mushrooms? This Inventor Says Yes


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Categories: Building Methods

by Kimberly Mok

© Philip Ross

It should be no secret that mushrooms are incredible organisms -- they are edible, they can bio-remediate toxins, but did you know that they can also be used as an organic building material?

Mycologists have worked long and hard to dispel so-called "fungi-phobia," and inventor-artist Philip Ross is another visionary soul who has dedicated his life to mushrooms -- specifically quick-growing mycelia -- cultivating, drying and developing them as a potential building material which, says Inhabitat, "makes it stronger, pound for pound, than concrete."

© Philip Ross

© Philip Ross

Mycelium make up the thread-like network below ground, connecting the so-called "fruiting bodies" of the mushrooms that are visible above ground, allowing them to absorb nutrients and are vital for decomposition of organic matter. Mycelia is what Ross cultivates and dries into forms that are incredibly lightweight and surprisingly resistant to fire, mold and water.

To get an idea of what this material can do, check out one of Ross' recent installations "Mycotecture," which was grown out of Ganoderma lucidum (or Reishi) cultures that were formed into bricks and stacked into an arch. In addition, protective finishes can be applied to the mushroom bricks as well.

© Philip Ross

© Philip Ross

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