Organic bricks build winning design in Young Architects Program

An innovative architectural plan by a New York practice known as The Living has won the 2014 MoMA PS1 contest known as the Young Architects Program.

The Living designed a group of towers constructed out of biobricks for the competition. The tower cluster, known as Hy-Fi, can be seen by MoMA visitors from June 2014 and it will successfully meet the art museum’s competition criteria of providing seating and shade while being inherently sustainable and recyclable.

The bricks used to make Hy-Fi are produced from a mixture of corn stalks, an agricultural waste product and fungal mycelium, a natural substance which serves to bind the bricks together. These biobricks are not as energy intensive to make as traditional bricks fired in a kiln. They will form the bases of the towers while special reflective bricks will be used at the top, created with a mirror film that bounces light down into the structures. Gaps in the bricks will provide ventilation and, while cooler air is drawn in lower down, warm air will be released at the top.

Seen as a triumph of biotechnology the Hy-Fi towers will incorporate visual beauty through their classical forms and the play of light in their interior spaces, as well as providing cool places for visitors to rest, with hardly any energy needs, carbon emissions or waste.

Although biobricks are not currently widely available, there are other sustainable building materials that architects in Chester could introduce into a building design for clients concerned about their project’s impact on the environment.

Posted by Matt Hughes
February 13, 2014

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