The Mycelium Experiments

Collaboration/ Patricia Joseph
Instructors/ Marcelyn Gow & Ramerio Diaz-Granados

What we Know:

Mycelium: is the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates. A typical single spore germinates into a homokaryotic mycelium, when stimulated may become fruiting bodies such as mushrooms.1(essentially the latent root structure of the mushroom) (I won’t bore you with the full biological life cycle that is involved with the full process) The interesting properties of the mycelium: high compressive strength, higher tensile strength than concrete, light weight, renewable and fire proof. Naturally something as wondrous as this caught our attention as the next building material. However, no one had really used the material exempting some research as a packaging alternative and recently in the PS1 pavillion.Our experiments were simple; We tested the densities of wood, in a controlled environment of high humidity and low light, in a wood chips substrate over several period of two weeks. (The life cycle of a pollinated mycelium colony in captivity before sprouting mushrooms)

The Apparatus:  

A branching structure (or at least how it was interpreted) was a series of bundles of specific dimension that would interweave in and between each other. Understood almost as a pile or stack of objects, the goal of the apparatus was to be a constant in the experiment and be repeatable. Our own Goals however were to exaggerate and allow for the frayed edge of the substrate mushroom to both consume and redefine its boundaries.The process eventually led us to scripting a structure where bundles, were created through milled wood parts that would notch accordingly to the intersections (taking precedent from Kengo w and the Starbucks shop) leaving room for void space for the mushrooms to grow and densities to allow aperture to form once the scaffold was burned away.  

Serial Sections

Density Test #2

Mycelium Wood Test #12

Mycelium Fire Test #8