Challenges and opportunities in scaling up architectural applications of mycelium-based materials with digital fabrication

Bitting S., Derme T., Lee J., Van Mele T., Dillenburger B. and Block P.
doi: 10.3390/biomimetics7020044

In an increasing effort to address the environmental challenges of the current linear economic paradigm of “produce, use, and discard,” the construction industry has been shifting towards a more circular model. A circular economy requires closing of the loops, where the end-of-life of a building is considered more carefully and waste is used as a resource. In comparison to traditional building materials such as steel and concrete, mycelium-based materials are renewable, use organic agricultural and industrial waste as a key ingredient for production, and do not rely on extraction or consumption of valuable finite resources. Mycelium-based materials have shown its potential as a more circular and economically competitive alternative to conventional synthetic materials in numerous industries ranging from packaging, electronic prototyping, furniture, fashion to architecture However, application of mycelium-based materials in the construction industry has been limited to small-scale prototypes and architectural installations due to low mechanical properties, lack of standardisation in production methods and material characterisation, which are well-known shortcomings within the research community. This paper aims to review the current state of the art in research and applications of mycelium-based materials across disciplines, with a particular focus on digital fabrication, production and design methods. The information gathered from this review will be synthesised to identify key challenges in scaling up applications of mycelium-based materials as load-bearing structural elements in architecture, and suggest opportunities and directions for future research.


    author  = "Bitting, S. and Derme, T. and Lee, J. and Van Mele, T. and Dillenburger, B. and Block, P.",
    title   = "Challenges and opportunities in scaling up architectural applications of mycelium-based materials with digital fabrication",
    journal = "Biomimetics",
    year    = "2022",
    volume  = "7",
    number  = "2",
    pages   = "44",
    month   = "April",
    doi     = "10.3390/biomimetics7020044",
    note    = "Special issue on “Fungal Architectures” ",

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