Renewable building material for the city of tomorrow
Steel and concrete—these are the first materials that come to mind when one thinks about building. But our resources are finite, which is why construction must break new ground. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) are leading the way by researching alternatives to conventional building materials. A result of years of research is "MycoTree", a self-supporting structure made of fungal mycelium and bamboo. Mycelium is a fast-growing, malleable building material, and its components can be completely composted after their useful life. The material can be cultured anywhere, and binds nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the form of organic substrates. Because regenerative building material is still weaker than conventional building materials, researchers have developed an ideal geometry using 3D-graphic statics in which only certain elements are subjected to pressure, thus lending stability to the whole structure—a genuine innovation and a visionary step into the future of sustainable construction.