Mycotectural Buildings Made Of Fungus
Mycotecture, or the creation of architectural forms with fungus, is being pioneered by Philip Ross at Far West Fungi in California. He doesn't use the caps of the mushroom; he's interested in the mycelium, the white root-like fibers that form a network in the soil below.
Grown in a mold, and then dried, it is an amazing material. It is nontoxic, fireproof, mold-resistant and extremely tough. Ross used bricks of mycelium to create an art project called Mycotectural Alpha, as well as natural packaging materials used in place of styrofoam.
Mushrooms are grown by packing sawdust into airtight bags, then steam cooking the packed bags for several hours. After these pasteurized wood chips have cooled down small pieces of mushroom tissue are introduced into the bag, which eagerly devours the neutralized wood. As the fungus digests and transforms the contents of the bag it solidifies into a mass of interlocking cells, slowly becoming denser and taking form. Like plaster or cement, mushrooms can be cast into almost any shape.The Ganoderma fungus takes two to four weeks to eat the sawdust and solidify into what looks like a decrepit cake.
After the mushroom tissue has colonized all of the sawdust the tops of the bags are cut off and moved into a growing room with high humidity. The bricks are then unwrapped and moved to a drying room for about a month.
Mushrooms digest cellulose and transform it into chitin, the same material that insect shells are made from. The bricks have the feel of a composite material with a core of spongy cross grained pulp that becomes progressively denser towards its outer layers. The skin itself is incredibly hard, shatter resistant, and can handle enormous amounts of compression. Shaping and cutting the bricks destroyed our files, rasps and saws.
SF fans enjoy tales about dwelling places that are all natural - and grown to order. Like the house trees from Jack Vance's classic 1954 novel The Houses of Iszm:
There were trees comprised of a central columnar trunk and four vast leaves, arching out and over to the ground to form four domed halls illuminated by the pale green transmitted light. There was a tough-trunked tree supporting a single turretlike pod, with lanceolate foliage spiking outward at the base: a watch-tower for the feuding tribesmen of Eta Scorpionis.
(Read more about the house trees)
From Mycotecture via Time; thanks to Meditating Bear for pointing this story out.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/11/2010)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
Dune Fans! Metal-Organic Frameworks Make Science Fiction Real
'Dew collectors,' he muttered, enchanted by the simple beauty of such a scheme. - Frank Herbert, 1965.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'- J.G. Ballard, 1962.
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'
You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories