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Can mushrooms help turn demolished buildings into new ones?

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The future will be built with biobricks

Biobrick Redhouse Studio

It’s not as weird as it sounds—mushrooms might very well be the building blocks of the future. We’ve seen how mycelium, the root-like filaments of mushrooms, has been used in experimental pavilions and Ikea packaging. Now, it could be used to rebuild crumbling housing stock in cities.

Biobrick samples.
Redhouse Studio

According to The Guardian, architects in Cleveland are embracing the bourgeoning art of “mycotecture,” or the practice of building architecture with mushroom and fungi materials. For a city like Cleveland, which has demolished some 9,000 homes in the past decade and is investing more money in an initiative to demolish 500 vacant homes in the coming years, this form of “biocycling” is a welcome experiment.

Test tubes of material
Mycelium cultures.
Redhouse Studio

To create a biobrick, construction waste (read: wood or insulation) is combined with plant material, microbes, and natural adhesives like fungi and then ground into pulp. That substance is then pressed into brick and treated to make natural construction substrate. The result is a material that reduces the building industry’s carbon footprint while at the same time sequestering harmful pollution in the air.

Though it’s far from mainstream—making it scalable, profitable, and up to code will take time—the city is embracing it as an experimental material. Cleveland firm Redhouse Studio is already working on a prototype that will use bio material fabricated from the demolition of an old structure as the building blocks for a shed at an urban farm. It’s just a small-scale example of mycelium’s potential. Stay tuned.

Via: The Guardian