Tech Tuesday: Biotechnology Behind The Living’s Hy-Fi Mushroom Tower at MoMA PS1

If you visit the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 building in Queens this summer for their Warm Up music series, you might notice a highly unusual circular structure towering over you. As part of MoMA’s Young Architects Program (YAP) design competition, Brooklyn firm The Living designed Hy-Fi – also referred to as the “Mushroom Tower” – the organic outdoor structure now on display at PS1, which showcases a unique biotechnology using a method pioneered by biomaterials company Evocative.

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Now in its 15th edition, the YAP competition challenges each year’s winners to develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation at MoMA PS1 that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling. Designed to create a pleasant micro-climate in the summer by drawing in cool air at the bottom and pushing out hot air at the top, the Hy-Fi structure offers shade, color, light, views, and a futuristic experience that is refreshing, thought-provoking, and full of wonder and optimism.

Who wouldn’t be intrigued by all it has to offer? This is especially the case in the sweltering New York City heat!

Tech Tuesday: Biotechnology Behind The Living’s Hy-Fi Mushroom Tower at MoMA PS1

Tech Tuesday: Biotechnology Behind The Living’s Hy-Fi Mushroom Tower at MoMA PS1

The temporary circular tower of organic and reflective bricks uses biological technologies combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering, and was created through a new method of bio-design conceived by its designer, David Benjamin of the New York-based architecture firm, The Living.

The structure is almost entirely compostable. Its bricks are made entirely of organic matter, a combination of discarded cornstalks and living root-like structures from mushrooms. After a few days in a mold, this mixture hardens into a sturdy, lightweight solid. The natural cycle of carbon through the ground, air, water, and living matter is temporarily diverted to produce a building that grows out of and returns to organic  matter — with almost no waste, no energy input, and no carbon emissions.

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Watch a fascinating video on the process here:

MoMA PS1’s Mushroom Tower | Hy-Fi by The Living from The Creators Project on Vimeo.

Hy-Fi opened to the public on June 27th, and will be on display throughout the summer to provide shelter and shade for those visiting the museum courtyard, particularly for museum-goers planning to sweat it out to tunes at the 2014 Warm Up concert series. Once it is disassembled – of course only after the exhibit’s run through September 7 – the eco-friendly, biodegradable structure will be returned to the earth.

Images and h/t MoMA

Read more Tech Tuesday features here.

Will you visit PS1’s Mushroom Tower?

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