To respond to the global demand for sustainable building materials, the first year CS student Aleksi Vesaluoma has been studying the opportunities of mushroom mycelium. The built environment has used up more than 50% of the Earth’s natural resources. It has also contributed to over 50% of our global environmental impact. Various companies worldwide are studying ways to reduce our impact, including using mycelium as a building material.
Mushroom mycelium is the root structure of mushrooms. When combined with agricultural waste and placed in the right growing environment, mycelium can be used to grow robust and durable materials. The process itself consumes waste and CO2 and results in a material that can be biodegraded at the end of its life.
Vesaluoma has been studying and developing this process for over a year. Recently, he has teamed up with a London-based company Biohm, ‘the future of home’, growing mycelium-based materials to demonstrate how they could be used as insulation and structurally within architecture. The pictured samples were grown in two weeks by mixing oyster mushroom mycelium with a range of plant waste. The samples were exhibited as part of Biohm’s display at the UK Construction Week and Hello Tomorrow Summit in Paris in October 2017.
Mycelium materials have a bright future ahead. In many occasions mushrooms could be the missing link towards a more cradle-to-cradle system that our Earth is longing for. Instead of chopping down trees to build a house, or firing lots of bricks, one day we can grow our dwellings from bottom up! Who knows, maybe our houses could also be our sources of food.
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