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Self-assembling fungus tower will grow in New York this summer

Self-assembling fungus tower will grow in New York this summer

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This summer, New York's Museum of Modern Art PS1 will play host to a structure built out of self-assembling bricks. Hy-Fi, designed by architect David Benjamin, will open in late June, and be built primarily built from a combination of corn husks and fungus. Bricks made of the two organic materials will be set in place to create three open towers, before being topped by a smaller set of bricks coated in a reflective film.

The blocks are made by mixing chopped-up corn husks and mycelium, the vegetative part of fungus. Once combined, they're placed into a mold, where they will be able to grow into rectangular shapes. The reflective surfaces of the bricks placed highest in the installation will help direct sunlight at the organic bricks below, encouraging them to grow and solidify further.

Benjamin won the chance to build his organic structure at MoMA PS1 in the Young Architects Program. Contest rules meant participants had to design buildings that offered outdoor seating, shade, and water. Entrants also had to make sure their structures could be disassembled without waste at the end of the installation's run. Benjamin's Hy-Fi also has the benefit of being almost entirely carbon neutral. The installation's reflective bricks will be taken back by the company that makes the coating for study, while the organic bricks that make up the majority of the piece will simply be composted.