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Mycelium walls?  RSS feed

 
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I stumbled on an interesting article on growing structures by weaving and forcing different trees to grow together. Towards the end of the article they talk about growing a mycelium wall or shell over the structures. This is the part of the read that most interested me.  

Here is the article:  Using nature in architecture: Building a living house with mycelium and trees

I know some work has been done using mycelium as insulation and also building structural things such as furniture and sculpture. Do you think it would be possible to build a dome house using primarily mycelium?

Im thinking of weaving a dome structure out of willow then tying burlap bag spawn to the structure using a long needle. You may have to temporarily cover the structure with plastic and/or water it often to help the mycelium grow.  After the Mycelium completely integrates with the substrate and burlap you could find a way to dry the structure. Perhaps a fire or rocket mass heater inside while removing the plastic? you would then have to waterproof the structure. the article suggests that pine tar may work for this.

When I move to my land next spring, I plan on experimenting first with a wall or bench, then perhaps a doghouse sized dome.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this idea.
 
master pollinator
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I am growing white willow to build a dome structure next to our pond so we can sit inside and watch the fish and the garden  I have already planted a ring of willow which Im hoping to shape into a duck shelter on the hugel bed next to our wild life pond. For that I'm using goat willow as we have a lot to take down to pollard it.
The article is fascinating. Thank you for sharing!
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
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 is a good video on living structures with some great tips.
 
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Season 4 of "Building Off the Grid" has an episode titled Mushroom House, they have it on Amazon instant video. Description "Sage Stoneman teams up with SunRay Kelley to build a mushroom-shaped house." In that episode, they do use living mushroom blocks in a mushroom-shaped cob material building, a scenic guest house built on a huge cedar stump. The blocks are used whole, as building blocks that are stacked and plastered together using cob techniques. They don't dry out / sterilize the blocks first, and they get mushrooms poking out from the mud plaster on the following day. It's a fun episode to watch, the building site is picturesque, and the folks on the show are pretty charming.

I wonder - about using mushroom spawn mixed directly into mud/straw as cob material instead being used as building blocks. It seems to me that it might be possible to increase the tensile strength of the material if you used the right strain of mushroom to bind it together. Or, heck, use straw that has been inoculated with the same fungus. Honey mushroom (armillaria gallica, a. mellea) has thick, strong, black rhizomes that can bind soil together. Have I done it? No. But I was definitely fascinated by the concept in the "Building Off the Grid" episode I watched. I produce a decent quantity of mushroom blocks and I'm starting to nurture an interest in natural building, especially since I've been on this site.

Regarding a dome house made of primarily mycelium (OP) - I'll bet you could build an "igloo" using mushroom blocks, to be covered by other materials. How strong it would be though, and how long it would last... I don't know. Mycelium is cool stuff but it can be eaten by other organisms that don't leave strong mycelia in their wake (trichoderma contamination). Perhaps that would weaken the structure.
 
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I’m currently considering 3D printing the elements required to construct a Disdyakis dodecahedron. Using mushroom media as a living mycilium “glue”.

The hubs could well be formed of durable ceramic, the struts / vertices a combination of bamboo and locally available substrate for Mycelium. I’m fortunate to have access to large quantities of spent coffee grounds.

The panels could be simply constructed with the method OP describes  but I’ve been imagining the re-use of food jars screwed into a 3D printed frame in an array to avoid the expense of dealing with glazing cut to scalene angles.

Living mycelium  does not suffer the  shrinkage that oven baked mushroom material does. It seems that the death of the organism is required to captalise on the forms companies construct. I’m not sure that I’m okay with that.

Frankly, I’ve not mentioned the integration of 3D printing and mycelium before on this forum because I dread a lecture on the use of appropriate technology and so far this is all thought – no action. Unless you count hours grappling with the beta open source freeCAD software application.

Viewing Opensourceecology.org, and thingiverse.com/search?q=ceramics have convinced me that this open private project could be pretty Aesthetic, functional, frugal in resources and sound in intention. Please correct me if I’ve overlooked something fundamental!

Coder and Artist Michael Ang has done much of the math for this project already. I reached out to him with these musings and he responded that he too is considering employing inoculated media in 3D printer production.

See his relevant work here The Polygon Construction Kit (Polycon) -2014-2016
https://www.michaelang.com/project/polycon

In my opinion, dome building is half the answer. A well constructed mycelium fused Disdyakis dodecahedron greenhouse should float on water. I envision that would be a benefit during a flood or a way to employ the centre of a large pond.

If you have the time watch the the inspiration for this train of thought check out:
Paul Burley: The Sacred Sphere - From Stone Circles to Higgs Boson [FULL LECTURE]


I value your perspective, especially if you have spotted a flaw in my thinking. Tell me now before I flow more energy into this!

Is this a good place top post any updates on my progression or should I open another thread?
 
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I'm surprised by the lack of mention of biochar.  Biochar is as insulative as foam board insulation and there is no concern of it molding or rotting.  
 
Justin Gerardot
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Amanda,
Thanks for sharing the video. How far along is the duck shelter project? do you have a thread? I would like to see pictures.

Patrick,
I also enjoyed watching that episode of building off the grid. I laughed so hard when the mushroom popped through. The mushroom cob experiment sounds like a great one.

Greg,
how would one attach biochar to a wall structure? It seems to me you would have to build solid walls and fill it in with the biochar. This could be a good thing to explore in its own thread. Are you aware of any type of mushroom that would grown on a biochar substrate?
 
Amanda Launchbury-Rainey
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Justin Gerardot wrote:Amanda,
Thanks for sharing the video. How far along is the duck shelter project? do you have a thread? I would like to see pictures.

Some are sprouting and I hope to do a few more ducky rings ovee our hugel bed next spring. I will have to go and scrounge willow as I have used my other whips to plant in my new hugel in the hope of buiding height. The builders are here digging out our ground floor and I am using the dirt for the bed. Will add pics as and when!

20181121_151404.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20181121_151404.jpg]
Hacking out most of the large erratic around which our house is built!
 
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