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Mushrooms turn out to be an excellent building material. Plus, they don’t harm the planet

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British designers grow mycelium in the shape of blocks, and on the construction site it’s just bricks. The material is durable, biodegradable, lightweight, insulates well and is fire resistant. You can also make a chair or a lamp out of it.

Mushrooms turn out to be an excellent building material. Plus, they don’t harm the planetPawel Abramowicz/Fakty TVN

Mushrooms are growing like weeds, and ideas for their use are starting and developing like mushrooms after rain. This is a patent of British architects – they grow mycelium in a wooden form, a block is made of it, and many such blocks are used to form a wall or a structure of any shape. – Mycelium has many properties previously reserved for traditional materials, but they are harmful to the environment. Mushrooms do no harm and are an excellent building block of the future – assures Ron Bakker, architect.

No CO2 emissions, no exploitation of deposits, no waste – no wonder that the global mushroom picking, mushroom growing and mushroom building has started. A brick made of mycelium is so durable that you can build a pretty large tower, or actually grow one, and in no time at all. – Mixed corn stalks and mycelium grow bricks after five days. You can build with them, and after demolition turn them into compost – says David Benjamin, architect. New bricks are growing on this compost. It’s a bit of a perpetual motion machine.

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Slovakia: Trnava policemen chased a white kangarooPawel Abramowicz/Fakty TVN

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Song of the future?

The only thing that architects are currently struggling with is how to protect mushroom walls against fungus. It’s a matter of time. What is certain, however, is that mushrooms shed new light on many projects. “We made the cushion of the headphones from mycelium, and the diaphragm is woven from spider silk,” says Geza Szilvay of the Finnish Technical Research Center.

Some products look really attractive, others still need some work, but at least they are 100% natural, and when they come together, they are also biodegradable. Either way, there’s a trend. – There has been a huge increase in designers’ interest in mushrooms as an alternative to, for example, plastic. It’s great that man is aware of the damage he has done to the planet and wants to change it, says Francesca Davin, curator of the exhibition “Mushrooms: Art, Design and the Future”.

Main photo source: ENEX

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