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

Veiled in Glass-Reinforced Concrete, This Mountain Church Echoing the Arcs Formation | Inuce | China

Inspired by biblical archetypes, the church resembles an ark resting on a rock, located at a mountains base amidst a forest with views of the town.

Read more

A Rectangular Concrete Home with Windowless Facade in Japan by Cochi Architects

This house stands out for its bold design, a rectangular concrete structure carefully designed to fit the site. Its most notable feature is its windowless facade directly facing the main street.

Read more

Concrete, Glass, and Brick Lattice Screens Define the Exterior of This Nursing College in Surat | Neogenesis+Studi0261

The Nursing College Ashaktashram, designed by Neogenesis+Studi0261, sports a sleek exterior featuring concrete, glass, and brick lattice screens that manage sunlight and airflow while ensuring privacy and security.

Read more

Bengalurus Striking National School of Business Complex is a Unique Blend of Raw Concrete and Exposed Brick | HabitArt Architecture Studio

Situated on the citys outskirts, NSB features a concrete frame wrapped in a brick facade with subtle projections. Grey-green Kota floor tiles blend harmoniously with the surroundings, creating a seamless integration with the natural landscape.

Read more

This is alt