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Towering organic sculpture to be exhibited in New York


February 10, 2014

A tower made of organic bricks has won the Young Architects Program 2014

A tower made of organic bricks has won the Young Architects Program 2014

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A tower made of organic bricks has won the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program 2014. Hy-Fi, conceived by New York architecture firm The Living, is a circular sculpture that will be built with bricks grown from corn stalks and living root structures. It will be exhibited outside MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.

Hy-Fi uses a method of bio-design that employs reflective growing trays (which are incorporated into the final structure) as molds for organic bricks that will be grown from a mycelium mixture. They will be grown at a local manufacturing facility, David Benjamin of The Living told Gizmag.

"The bricks take about five days to grow and there will be multiple grow cycles over about two months to manufacture all of the bricks," he says. "The tower will be constructed with typical brick and mortar construction methods, aided by a precise 3D model and new augmented reality tools."

According to Benjamin, the tower will take a few weeks to construct on-site. It will be 100 percent organic and fully recyclable, with the growing trays being used for another project afterwards and the organic bricks being fully compostable

According to MoMA, Hy-Fi will create its own micro-climate by, "drawing in cool air at the bottom and pushing out hot air at the top." It is also expected to create some dramatic lighting effects due to the different angles at which light will shine on the structure and reflect off the mirrored growing trays.

"The exhibit will offer otherworldly experiences of light, views, enclosure and micro-climates, explains Benjamin. "It will also point to a future with a healthy approach to waste, energy, and carbon."

The Young Architects Program is an annual competition that gives emerging architects the chance to showcase innovative, temporary installations in the courtyard outside MoMA PS1, and provide a setting for the Warm Up Summer Music Series.

Participants are asked to submit designs that provide shade, seating and water, as well address environmental issues, such as sustainability and recycling. The event, in its 15th year, is now also held internationally with contests in Istanbul, Rome and Santiago.

Last year's winner was "Party Wall" by design studio CODA.

The video below provides some more information about Hy-Fi.

Sources: The Living, MoMA PS1

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds. All articles by Stu Robarts

A story about an art installation, and what is in the comments section... more denigration and negative comments. Always negative comments.


Mycelium growth releases carbon dioxide - somewhat misleading to jump on the "healthy carbon" wagon here I'm thinking?


I think I would be a bit worried about walking inside this structure. It does look very stable. We don't know anything about the structural strength of the bricks, and if they are readily compostable what happens when it rains? Mushrooms have a habit of dissolving into liquid, after their primary function of spore dispersal has taken place.

This project would be best left as a concept, but a bit pointless otherwise, IMHO.


Corn stalks and living root structures are compressable. If the tower will be constructed with typical brick and mortar construction methods, then the mortar will be hard and inflexible. Ain't gonna work.

So it is "100 percent organic and fully recyclable." So are traditional clay bricks.

If this is an art exhibit, fine; say so. It's not a building.

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