Tower To Rise At MoMA PS1, With Self-Assembling Bricks

MoMA PS1 has selected the winner of its annual Young Architects Program, a temporary outdoor installation that will open in late June. Hy-Fi, the winning project from David Benjamin of The Living, features self-assembling bricks made of organic material, and will be nearly carbon neutral in its construction.

Benjamin’s bio-design concept will consist of two kinds of brick: some made out of live organic material, and some reflective bricks. For the organic bricks, chopped up corn husks are recycled to combine with mycelium, a kind of mushroom root material. The mixture is then packed into a mold. The reflective bricks, placed at the top of the tubular structure, bounce light off a daylight mirror film coating onto the organic material below, helping them self-assemble into a brick shape and solidify. The shape of the structure pushes hot air out the top, drawing in cool air below.

The outdoor installation, required by the contest rules to provide outdoor seating, shade and water, will, at the end of the summer, be disassembled with no waste. The organic bricks will be composted, and the reflective bricks returned to 3M, the company that makes the mirror film, for further research.

“It reinvents the most basic component of architecture–the brick–as both a material of the future and a classic trigger for open-ended design possibilities,” MoMA’s architecture and design curator, Pedro Gadanho, said in a press statement. If this mushroom brick wonderland holds up for the whole summer, maybe we’ll start seeing more applications of this type of self-assembling material. A carbon-neutral construction process is a pretty tantalizing offer.SF