Giant Mushroom Tower Sprouts at MoMA PS1

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Installation view of The Living’s Hy-Fi, the winning project of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s 2014 Young Architects Program. June 27-September 7, 2014.
Photo: Kris Graves.

A giant building made of mushrooms and corn has sprouted in Queens at MoMA PS1 as part of the annual Young Architects Program, co-sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art and PS1. As reported by the New York Times, the tower, titled Hy-Fi, is the work of New York-based architects the Living.

Each year, emerging talents compete to build a temporary structure in the Long Island City institution’s outdoor courtyard. As always, museum visitors will get the opportunity to experience the piece all summer, particularly during “Warm Up,” the museum’s popular outdoor concert series.

Hy-Fi measures 40 feet fall, with curving cylinders branching out from its base, but what is most remarkable about the project are its building materials. The Living, in collaboration with Ecovative, of Green Island, New York, have developed a special biodegradable brick made of agricultural byproducts, namely chopped up corn stalks, mixed with mycelium mushrooms.

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Installation view of The Living’s Hy-Fi, the winning project of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s 2014 Young Architects Program. June 27-September 7, 2014.
Photo: Kris Graves.

The latter’s living root structure fuse together the biological material, creating a solid object that can serve as a strong, lightweight, weather-resistant building material. The towering pavilion was thoroughly analyzed before it was build in order to make sure that the innovative bricks would be structurally sound.

“We can try to do things differently; we don’t have to accept the ways that buildings are always designed,” lead designer David Benjamin said in a video for the Creators Project. Without a doubt, Hy-Fi takes green, sustainable architecture and design to a new level, bringing architecture to life through actual living biological organisms.

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Installation view of The Living’s Hy-Fi, the winning project of The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1’s 2014 Young Architects Program. June 27-September 7, 2014.
Photo: Kris Graves.

At the end of the summer, the structure will be composted. A building that sprang from the earth will return to earth, literally “dust to dust.”

The Living’s Hy-Fi will be on view at MoMA PS1 through September 6.


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