A trip to MoMA PS1 yesterday for the opening of this Summer's Warm-UP Series included an exciting surprise: the work of winner of this year's Young Architect Program, New York firm The Living. They have created a beautiful structure in the center of the courtyard. What's even more beautiful is the building materials were made from components that combine corn stalks with mycelium, a root material in fungus that grows into mushrooms. Yes, mushrooms! Both ingredients will be mixed inside rectangular forms and grow and solidify into bricks.
This is a very successful example of Number 6 of Ted's Ten: Design that looks at models from Nature and History, what many in the field of design also call Biomimicry. A tenet of sustainability that has been adopted by industrial designers and architects perhaps a little more readily than fashion designers.
The installation will occupy the courtyard at MoMA/P.S.1 throughout the summer and provide a backdrop for the museum’s weekend series of Warm-Up parties. The towers are designed to cast shade for revelers and to offer a refuge from the summer heat, using the stack effect created by the chimney-like forms to cool the interior. But even more amazingly:
“It is the first sizable structure to claim near-zero carbon emissions in its construction process and, beyond recycling, it presents itself as being 100% compostable.”
I highly recommend going to check out the towers before the end of the summer when they will be reclaimed by the earth, in a perfect example of thoughtful design.