Mycotecture GR2: Building from Mushrooms

The goal is researching a new technology of biologic building material production. Mycelium is the growing root like structure of mushrooms and it has been found out in a closed container with cellulose based input mycelium grows and takes the form of the container.


Our first goal is to achieve this production of mycelium, important are

-type of cellulose based input
-sterilization proccess
-type of mushrooms
-growing time of mushrooms

Second goal is while we are creating the materials, to find a possible use in architecture. This will be based on the quality and type of the material we will produce in this time.

The final goal is to fabricate this possible use, it can be:

-a module of a system
-a building block to construct
-a smaller scale object (furniture)

Resarch group:
Gökhan Catikkas
Hristo Ivanov Kovachev
Renata de Castro Lotto
Giombattista Areddia


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. The mass of hyphae is sometimes called shiro, especially within the fairy ring fungi. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in soil and on or within many other substrates. A typical single spore germinates into a homokaryotic mycelium, which cannot reproduce sexually; when two compatible homokaryotic mycelia join and form a dikaryotic mycelium, that mycelium may form fruiting bodies such as mushrooms. A mycelium may be minute, forming a colony that is too small to see, or it may be extensive.

In 2013, a company called Ecovative Design announced that they were developing an alternative to polystyrene and plastic packaging by growing mycelium in agricultural waste. The two ingredients would be mixed together and placed into a mold for 3–5 days to grow into a durable material. Depending on the strain of mycelium used, they could make different varieties of the material including water absorbant, flame retardant, and dielectric.

Phil ross (artist biologist) tries to research the potential of mycelium materials

valdauramushrooms1 valldauramushrooms2

Our purpose is mainly trying to do it with the mushrooms we found around the property of Valdaura so that what we design in the end would be fitting to the concept of local materials better.

As we walked around we found a lot of mushrooms growing on tree roots, but not so many growing freely on the soil we collected them all to start experimenting. After we started our research and found out that the mushrooms growing on tree branches or roots were very hard growing ones so we started searching for fast growin, mycelium forming mushrooms and ideal conditions to do the proccess.

iaac trying presentation methodiaac trying youtube method

We found a simple method on youtube to form mycelium. This method uses cardboard and warm water to sterilize the cardboard for 20 minutes.

After this they put little pieces of mushroom tissue in the container and wait.

We continued trying different methods to sterilize sawdust and different types  of mushroom to grow mycelium.

We found a mycelium supplier and got some already grown mycelium. He told us that to grow more from that bag needed very precise conditions like humidity and temperature. We will try to shape our final product with this already started growing mycelium.


We mycroscoped our own grown mycelium tissues and saw the web like structure.



16805113Raphael Charles' concept for a flexible coffee table composed of wooded cylinders3193795066_916690f9b3_z

The purpose is to crate different functions  with the similar modules wich can be created as “building” bricks

Our inspiration comes from already existing installation and from the existing patterns in nature. By research and try & error principle we struggle to find harmony and function mixed with a spice of innovation. With the help of our digital tools we are convinced of a positive conclusion.


areas pathaxonometric 3 copyareas_mushrooma

The fully grown installation provides many options to be used. Being a part from existing landscape it allows us to shape and create space into space. Suddenly new paths emerge. Interesting variety of view points allows the travelers to experience new surroundings. Small and well hidden rooms appear under the beautiful sky where two souls can communicate in private.

Further more our installation provides comfortable sitting options. Interesting playground for children and anyone who dears to test it. Climbing on top of it allows the curious an elevated point of view. The installation by itself is totally environmental friendly and produces 0 waste material or pollution even left by itself neglected.



Instead of using pipes and form cylinders we thought about using more organic geometric modules to make combinations of objects.

Mashroom Project_31.10.2013__Page_29Mashroom Project_31.10.2013__Page_30Mashroom Project_31.10.2013__Page_31


One idea was putting led lights around the block and connect the cables insida to generate electricity from tree roots for a little glow in the dark.

The modules could be completed with completed with different caps for different purposes like a little table, shading or seating elements.


We constructed our container prototype with simple material and because we could not grow mycelium, just to see the module in scale we started building our prototype from gypsum


The bag of mycelium we ordered has arrived so that now we could start playing with the real material

The gypsum model had the imperfect texture like mycelium and gave us the idea of the final product


We also tried pressed newspaper pieces to produce a material strenght close to mycelium.  Because mycelium we had was limited, to play with the joints we were searching for the substitute materials.


Using only Modules grown from myicellium we insist on creating a multifunctional Installation. The combination of a children playground, resting place, defined event space mixed with aviculture, agriculture and fencing properties will provide Valldaura with a unique structure.


An Installation that has imaginable and unimaginable properties at the same time. Creating interesting view points, constantly changing spectacle of lights and shadows, may be even a nesting place for birds or shelter for wild animals.


We reshape our modules over and over in order to make them fit and interlock together without any joints but in the same time to be able to fulfill all other functions. Like a shape that interlocks but is still comfortable for a person to sit on



We are working on two possible positions for out Installation. The first is as a secret place deep in the Valldaura forest near the campus. It will act as a surprise and unexpected opportunities for the people exploring the forest paths. The second is an Installation as a renovation are. The location is the entrance of the campus. Installation which will provide a curious entrance experience for the arrivers and in the same time provides an upgrade for the already existing functions on that spot.


The next logical step after locating our possible position was the separation and position of the different functions in the Installation according to the surroundings. Using grasshopper we put our gradient, functions and the various way of positions that our modules can acheave in the software and use it to emerge with a new more functional pattern



The containers were made to test different mycelium growth proccess in different joints with different conditions. Various types of vertical and horizontal joints were researched.


To fix the mycelium we tried to dehumidfiy and bake the myceilum shell baking resulted in a harder mycelium piece and after leaving to dry under the sun for couple of days the pieces were getting harder.


It is undersandable that without contct with air or humidty mycelium does not grow inside the piece after 2 cm and creates a shell around the brick piece.


Sample 8A is the most succesfull and strong block produced, so the research contiunes on the method 8A and about the quailties of the material generated.





Block Production







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