Fungi are responsible for life on land as we know it: they are great connectors, decomposers, and regenerators, and help protect and restore the entire ecosystem. They are neither plants nor animals, but organisms that form a separate kingdom – Funga. Fungi are part of almost all food production and accountable for many medical breakthroughs supporting both physical and mental health. Slowly, they are also being recognized as an invaluable player towards a more sustainable and regenerative future in the built environment. For example, mycelium, the organism's dense network of hyphae, can act as a welding system connecting various natural aggregates in fully biodegradable alternatives to synthetic products, such as building materials.
The seminar Home:Grown, the third in Marta H. Wisniewska's Alternative Materials Series, investigated the potential of such mycelium-based composites in Fall 2021. The elective's framework was divided into two modules: First, each student gained hands-on experience in designing and growing their own everyday objects from mycelium. The second module comprised of digital and physical form-finding exercises, in pursuit of an innovative mycelium joinery system, aiming to answer the important question of how to scale biological growth processes in architectural production.
The resulting exhibition showcases the collective work of 17 students: Ji Yoon Bae (M.S. DC '22), Collin Carder (B. Arch. '22), Cirrus Chen, Sarah Chiesa (B. Arch. '24), Polen Guzelocak, Kate Heath (M. Arch. '22), Erin Huang (B. Arch. '22), Tetsuo Kobayashi (M. Arch. '22), Dalia Lam (B. Arch. '23), Jessica Lee (M. Arch. '22), Noah Liao (B. Arch. '22), Hannah Lin (B. Arch. '24), Rainey Oldfield (B. Arch. '24), Addison Reine (M. Arch. '22), Nguyet Vo (B. Arch. '23), Duncan Xu, Kseniya Yerakhavets.
Assistance: Jin Cho, Idil Derman, Farzana Hossain.
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