3D Printed Mycelium Column Made From Waste Coffee Cups Can Replace Concrete | Blast Studio

3D Printed Mycelium Column

A new method of 3D printing with mycelium – the vegetative root of fungi – has been developed by London-based Blast Studio. Also known as shiro, mycelium is an underground network of fungal threads or hyphae, which the studio has used to 3D print a living architectural column called Tree Column.

Its name has been derived from its rigid and wavy structure which is reminiscent of tree trunks. Standing over 2 m high, its biomass structure has been algorithmically designed to provide strength and the necessary growing conditions for mycelium.

The idea was to create a multi-purpose structure that can be harvested for mushrooms while also serving as a functional building column that can self-repair.

The production process starts with the shredding of waste coffee cups that are collected from around London. They are boiled in water to produce a sterilized paper pulp, which is then mixed with mycelium along with desired natural pigments to add colour.

The biomass paste is fed into a custom-made cold extruder similar to the kind used for 3D printing with clay where layers are 3D printed to form 10 separate modules that are stacked into a column measuring 2.1 m high and fused together using more mycelium.

Upon printing into shape, mycelium consumes the pulped paper cups and starts to grow to take over the whole column, thereby producing mushrooms that can be picked off and eaten. The mycelium root structure is further dried to create a load-bearing architectural element with natural insulating and fire-retardant properties.

For the initial three to four weeks until the mycelium has grown to encompass the entire column, the structure needs to be kept inside as it needs a humid environment away from any airflow. Furthermore, it is dried at 80o Celcius to kill the organisms to curb its growth and solidify the material.

Blast Studio confirms that the structure bears a similar capacity to MDF. The column is light and good in compression and flexion due to the elasticity of the material. It can, therefore, be used in small constructions such as houses and small buildings where concrete could be easily substituted by mycelium. In addition, if the column gets damaged or is no longer required, it can be recycled or reprinted.

Blast Studio is in plans to create a self-repairing version of the column by drying the mycelium to an extent it stops propagation without killing the organisms that would allow it to re-grow once exposed to water. That said, the studio has also developed a range of tables, lights and interior cladding options.

Image credits: Blast Studio


Post Your Comment

"Content that powers your Business. News that keeps you informed."

Surfaces Reporter is one of India's leading media in Print & Digital Telecast for News on Interiors & Architecture Projects, Products, Building Materials, and the Business of Design! Since 2011, it serves as a referral for designers & architects to know about inspiring projects and source new products. If you have a Product or Project worth publishing in Surfaces Reporter, please email us hello@surfacesreporter.com or you can also submit your project online.

Like Surfaces Reporter on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram | Subscribe to our magazine | Sign Up for the FREE Surfaces Reporter Magazine Newsletter

Reclaimed Wood, Kota Stone, Exposed Concrete And Brick Give A Rustic Yet Refined Appeal To This Lush Cochin House | VSP Architects

Where the use of reclaimed wood, Kota stone, exposed concrete and brick gives a rustic yet refined appeal to the interiors, the addition of plants gives a lush tropical feel to this Cochin House.

Read more

Cork Walls, Concrete Arches and Exposed Mechanical Systems Fashions Madrid’s Reggio School

Jaque-led Office for Political Innovation designed six-storey Reggio School encompassing cork walls, concrete arches, porthole windows and zigzagging roofs.

Read more

Timber and Concrete Unite to create a Dramatically Sloping Roof Café | Takahama Cafe

Named Takahama Cafe, the newly introduced structure seamlessly connects the earth and atmosphere and reflects the surrounding environment.

Read more

3D Printed house for Indian Army | SURFACES REPORTER Design Update

Faster construction methods are crucial for Army as they are often sent to places where there are little resources. Recently, Indian Army has inaugurated a 3D Printed house in Ahmedabad using a concrete 3D Printer. A report by SURFACES REPORTER (SR).

Read more

This is alt