If you read yesterday’s Optimist View, you know that the options for building in a changing climate are diverse and versatile. They might even include building homes out of fungus. Yes, fungus. A provocative new paper by academics from the University of the West of England and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts has outlined the potential for using fungi as building materials.
These proposed “monolithic structures” would use fungus to make up all parts of the structure, including plumbing and electrical systems. They would self-grow, build, and repair themselves.
The fungus is a highly adaptable material and can be made to mimic wood, foam, and polymers so it can be used for a variety of building needs. The European group is not alone in seeing the potential in mushrooms. NASA is currently testing whether fungus could grow in Martian soil. The big difference here is the proposition of using living fungus to build structures, rather than a harvested fungus.
Unfortunately, the idea is still highly speculative. If you were hoping to move into a mushroom house next year, better to wait before you list your apartment. That said, perhaps it’s coming soon! While it may sound like sci-fi fantasy architecture, the potential for fungi foundations is there and this paper offers an insightful and imaginative new way to envision our living spaces.