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Mycelium: The Latest Architecture and News

8 Biodegradable Materials the Construction Industry Needs to Know About

09:30 - 2 May, 2018
8 Biodegradable Materials the Construction Industry Needs to Know About

In architecture we are so caught up in creating something new, we often forget about what happens at the end of a building’s life cycle—the unfortunate, inevitable demolition. We may want our buildings to be timeless and live on forever, but the harsh reality is that they do not, so where is all the waste expected to go?

As with most non-recyclable waste, it ends up in the landfill and, as the land required for landfill becomes an increasingly scarce resource, we must find an alternative solution. Each year in the UK alone, 70–105 million tonnes of waste is created from demolishing buildings, and only 20% of that is biodegradable according to a study by Cardiff University. With clever design and a better awareness of the biodegradable materials available in construction, it’s up to us as architects to make the right decisions for the entirety of a building’s lifetime.

This Mars Colonization Proposal Would 3D Print Biodegradable Fungus Towers that Leave No Trace

09:30 - 14 February, 2016
This Mars Colonization Proposal Would 3D Print Biodegradable Fungus Towers that Leave No Trace, Courtesy of Alberto Villanueva
Courtesy of Alberto Villanueva

After NASA’s discovery of water beneath the surface of Mars earlier this year, and the subsequent critical and popular success of the movie The Martian, it's safe to say that the planet named after the God of War is all the rage. Those revelations have led to speculative looks at how our neighboring planet could be colonized from numerous designers, such as Norman Foster.

Many of those plans, including those of SpaceX founder Elon Musk, involve dumping Earthen construction materials onto the alien surface, potentially starting an inclination for pollution of our new world before it is even occupied. Spanish architect Alberto Villanueva of IDEA Architecture Office saw this as an opportunity for design to intervene. Using Martian soil and the fungus mycelium, Villanueva proposes a strategy utilizing 3D printing and bioluminescence that has gained the attention of both NASA and the European Space Agency.

Courtesy of Alberto Villanueva Courtesy of Alberto Villanueva Towers lit with bioluminescence. Image Courtesy of Alberto Villanueva Courtesy of Alberto Villanueva + 11