Last night, the organic brick structure known as 'Hy-Fi' opened in the courtyard of MoMA's PS1 space in New York. Designed by David Benjamin of New York architects The Living, the tower was designed as part of MoMA's Young Architects Program, and its construction centers around the use of an innovative building material: organic, biodegradable bricks consisting of no more than farm waste and a culture of fungus that is grown to fit a brick-shaped mold.
Acting as the centerpiece for MoMA's Warm Up music festival on Saturdays throughout the Summer, the temporary structure will provide shade, seating and water until September 7th. Read on after the break for more on the design.
Hy-Fi is the first large scale structure to use this mushroom brick technology, based on a technique developed by Ecovative in 2007 and, until now, generally used to make packaging. The bricks can be grown in 5 days, and are stacked to create a structure of three merging cylinders. The form is designed to draw breezes through the structure and cool the shaded interior further.
The top layers of 'bricks' in the structure are made instead of the steel molds used to grow the bricks. This is partly functional, reflecting more light into the interior of the structure, but it also is a covert reference to the existing architecture of New York City, where low-rise red brick structures are towered over by glossy skyscrapers. "We wanted to acknowledge the red brick structures and glass towers of New York City, but then turn them inside out," Benjamin says.
Once the structure is removed in September, the mushroom bricks will be composted, returning them to the carbon cycle, and the molds - which are covered in a special light-refracting film invented by 3M - will be sent back to 3M for further research.