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Old Posted Aug 30, 2014, 2:00 PM
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M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
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Making houses out of mushrooms

Making houses out of mushrooms

29 August 2014

By Golda Arthur

Read More: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28712940

Much of the construction industry depends on fossil fuels, creating a big carbon footprint. As pressure mounts to make construction "greener", experts have started to design houses out of hemp and straw, and bricks made of mushrooms.

- "This is a hybrid of what I call an ancient technology of mushrooms and a totally new technology of computation and engineering," says architect David Benjamin. The mushroom - or mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus - is an ideal material, Mr Benjamin explains. These bricks score high marks for sustainability because they were "grown" with no carbon emissions and no waste.

- The mushroom brick is "grown" by mixing together chopped-up corn husks with mycelium. The mixture is then put into a brick mould and left to grow for five days. The result is a brick that is solid, but lightweight. The "mushroom tower" is then assembled using a custom algorithm to lay the bricks layer by layer. This method lets builders use local materials like agricultural waste, and also makes the bricks biodegradable.

- Mr Benjamin's belief in the power of biotechnology is evident in the name of his architectural firm, The Living. --- "We want to use living systems as factories to grow new materials," he says. "Hopefully this will help us see cities more as living breathing organisms than solid, static, inert places."

- Meanwhile another architect has also been growing "bio-bricks", using a different process. Ginger Krieg Dosier is the creator of a brick made with sand and bacteria, filled into a mould and then fed with a nutrient solution. Five days later, the bricks are removed and ready to use. The chemical reaction caused by this mixture "bio-cements" the grains together to create a solid brick. This quest for the bio-brick took Ms Dosier from the world of architecture to science, where she consulted with microbiologists and chemists in order to come up with a formula.

- The work of Mr Benjamin and Ms Dosier point to a new level of innovation which some say is much needed in the building industry. --- "While they are experimental, it is very exciting to see these types of leapfrog technologies that take cues from nature to find creative alternatives to some of the oldest conventions in design," says Jacob Kriss from the US Green Building Council.


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Old Posted Aug 31, 2014, 1:36 AM
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I wish my home was made of psilocybin cubensis.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2014, 7:09 AM
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This is...controversial. Would those work in every environment and every climate? What about the level of decay? What happens to those bricks during time?
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Old Posted Sep 10, 2014, 5:28 PM
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Old Posted Sep 14, 2014, 3:58 AM
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This method lets builders use local materials like agricultural waste, and also makes the bricks biodegradable.
Biodegradable building materials are counter productive and produces more waste over time. I just had to have my roof redone, 10 years earlier than I'd planned. Turns out the shingles used in the late 90's when it was done were designed to biodegrade in a landfill. But they start breaking down on the roof after 15 years.

A brick building should last for centuries. Can't do that if the bricks are rotting.
All we ever see of stars are their old photographs
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