The material they use is formed from the root network of mushrooms. The duo claims that this material is capable of providing the structure of a two-storey building if the right geometry is used in the design. “Then we can demonstrate something that can actually be very stable, through its form, rather than through the strength of the material,” explains Block.
Their installation, called MycoTree, consists of dozens of mycelium components that support one another in compression. A system of bamboo endplates and metal dowels keep these components together – but it is the mycelium that is taking all the load.
While some architects have been experimenting with mushroom mycelium as a cladding material, architect Dirk Hebel and engineer Philippe Block have gone one step further – by using fungi to build self-supporting structures. Hebel, who leads the Sustainable Construction unit at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Block, who founded the Block Research Group at ETH Zürich, have created a tree-shaped structure consisting almost entirely of mycelium.
experimenting with mushroom mycelium as a cladding material