Houses made from mushrooms used to be for smurfs — but the creative folks at Terreform One and Planetary One intend to create real houses from the prodigious plant. They are developing a new breed of “Mycoform” building blocks made from mushrooms that can literally grow themselves. The project uses a vegetative form of fungus known as mycelium, whose tendrils develop into a thick matt. In fact the growth of the fungus is so prodigious it can be considered the largest living thing on the planet.

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The fungus is apt at breaking down complex organic molecules in the environment and using them as building blocks. The team at Planetary One is harnessing this process to grow the material in molds using organic cellular material for food. Their prototypes utilize the North American species Ganoderma lucidum, which they placed in a mold with a mixture of oak pellet fuel, wheat bran, gypsum, and hydrogen peroxide to produce a fine matrix of material with structural properties conducive for use as a construction material. They created a replica of the New Museum in only ten days to demonstrate the quick-growing bio-building blocks.

The fungal building block concept is not only environmentally sound — it requires only readily available waste organic material and needs no extra energy — but it may also have the capacity to clean the environment. Bioremediation uses fungus to break down toxic organic material into inert building blocks—imagine transforming superfund sites into factories that produce regenerative building products.

+ Planetary One