Mycelium building materials
UK-based PLP Architects aims to create mycelium-based bio-composite construction materials to move away from traditional building materials.
PLP conducted a year-long experiment to explore the building properties of mycelium bio-composites. Unlike traditional building materials like steel and concrete, mycelium, the root system of mushrooms, is a renewable material that is lightweight, fire-resistant and has good insulation properties.
Mycelium is increasingly used as acoustic or insulation material, but PLP focused on the possibilities for construction, also in the exterior of a building. They 3D printed wooden shells, which they let overgrow with mycelium. The mycelium colonises the substrate, creating a dense and durable material that can be shaped and moulded into different forms. The materials are then heated to kill the mycelium and prevent further growth. This technique moulds mycelium in an infinite number of configurations with a high level of precision.
Using this technique, PLP created partition, seating, planters and a table, but they emphasise there are many other possibilities as well. It took about three months to print the whole collection.
PLP aims to continue their research into the properties of mycelium bio-composites.