Under the direction of Professor Hans Sachs, a pavilion made of fungus-bound fiber substrate is being built at the Landesgartenschau in Höxter. The background to this project is the practical use of an alternative, sustainable building material in conjunction with digital construction planning.
The project kicked off with a workshop with Professor Sachs' international master's students to practically explore the properties and possibilities of the biological building material. "The use of fungus in the materials industry can lead to a real revolution in the construction industry," Sachs says. "Mycelial materials can provide a cost-effective and climate-friendly alternative to conventional building materials."
The idea for the pavilion made of mushroom mycelium came about as part of an interdisciplinary competition. Students Leandra Simon, Inga Wißling, Andres Buitrago and Ardalan Mirhadinejadfard developed the concept of a homogeneous overall structure. The challenge of this project is to place the structure coherently in the surroundings of an existing group of trees. Through form and design, the pavilion made of mushroom mycelium should blend into its surroundings. In the pavilion itself, subspaces are created that lend themselves to different play or presentations.
The idea of using fungal fibers for the production of novel materials is not entirely new. The mycelium of the tree fungus has already been used in the packaging industry for ten years. Other universities are also conducting research into fungus-based eco-materials for technical applications. The production of a fungus-based material is based on a simple principle: the fungus is offered a carbohydrate-rich nutrient. This can be, for example, wood fibers from production waste or agricultural residues. The hyphae of the fungus form a three-dimensional mycelium that permeates the raw material, giving it strength with further different properties. After a desired growth period, the further spread of the fungus is stopped.
Fungi offer a versatile and fascinating object of research not only in biomedicine and ecotrophology. They form a special position in the classification of life forms. Of the estimated several million species of fungi, only about 120,000 have been described to date. Unlike plants, they cannot obtain energy from sunlight, but feed by decomposing organic matter. In the process, they return nitrogen compounds to the soil, making them available again to other living organisms. It is therefore natural to think that these properties could also be used to solve some ecological challenges.
The project group around the Mycelion meets regularly to compile the results of the individual subgroups. During the course of the project, various building forms and construction options were considered. The current status is a dome-like pavilion made of 130 individual triangular modules. Special issues relate to the connections of the individual elements, the distribution of compressive and tensile forces, resistance to weather conditions and the fastening of the structure to the ground. The modern possibilities of computer-aided contrusion planning help in this.
The experiments around the optimal growth conditions of the fungal mycelium show great promise. Inoculation of the fiber substrate will begin at the end of February. The fungal mycelium will pass through the wooden module in the following weeks and a first presentation will take place in mid-March.
First semester students of the master's program "MID Computational Design" are about to realize an experimental pavilion for the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and Arts at the Landesgartenschau 2023 in Höxter as part of a cooperation with the landscape architects of the Sustainable Campus Höxter. The project is a cooperation between the landscape architects in Höxter and the Detmold School of Architecture and Interior Design, especially the international and interdisciplinary course of studies MID. The cooperation was initiated by Prof. Hans-Peter Rohler (Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning) and Prof. Hans Sachs (Department of Architecture and Interior Design) already during the pandemic at the end of 2020. The project is kindly supported by two local companies, Formatio GmbH (Lemgo) and Goldbeck GmbH (Bielefeld), Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Junge Stauden and the city of Höxter, as well as the State Horticultural Show itself. Special thanks go here to the Department of Civil Engineering and Department of Production and Wood Technology of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and Arts for their technical support (material/structure). A big thank you also goes to all personal and institutional supporters.
Several design competitions and studies have since been developed in cooperation by students from Höxter and Detmold. In an official competition, a jury consisting of representatives of the city of Höxter, architects and planners from the State Horticultural Show and the city of Höxter, and representatives of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and Arts selected the group of students led by Leandra Simon, Inga Wißling, Andres Buitrago, and Ardalan Mirhadinejadfard as the first prize winner. The proposal included a conceptual proposal for a pavilion structure composed of MYCELIUM (brick) elements. The proposal was further developed by Ardalan Mirhadinejadfard in his 2022 Master's thesis through the realization of 1:1 prototypes at the Detmold Architecture Campus.
Since September 2022, the students of the first semester of the MID specialization "Computational Design" have been working intensively on the realization of the pavilion in several workshops, conducting studies and material tests with GROWING mycelium (from different prepared substrates) up to the development and realization of 1:1 details, models and prototypes of a mycelium-wood composite structure for the TH OWL pavilion and as a further special feature for outdoor furniture made of mycelium and the material remains of the wooden parts. It is worth highlighting the enormous challenges that the student group faced during the development to obtain professional support, materials and infrastructure.
During the development process, the original concept of a mycelium and brick-based structure was evolved into a comprehensive vaulting system inspired by minimal surfaces and structured into triangles to reduce and evenly distribute forces in the structure. The pavilion's approximately 80 elements consist of generated, digitally fabricated, triangular extrusion bodies made from a combination of Douglas fir wood and mycelium as composite elements that grow together. The individual elements are designed to be customizable in shape, becoming part of a generated and structurally optimized vault structure. A special highlight - besides the complex, digital production of this building experiment - are the growth processes of the building. In an initial prefabrication phase, the elements grow in the factory until they have reached a certain level of stability and strength. Once at the construction site, the elements are linked together and grow together independently and additionally - through additional integrated mycelium substrate on site. The pavilion will be subjected to various tests during the State Garden Show. Before disassembly in the fall of 2023, the part of the supporting structure consisting exclusively of mycelium compounds will be extensively tested. During the State Garden Show, wood and steel connections specially developed by the students will ensure the safety and stability of the structure.
Team and supporters
Project management: Prof. Hans Sachs (FB1) / Prof. Hans-Peter Rohler (FB9)
Co-leadership: Alexander Fillies M. Eng. (FB1) / Prof.in i.V. Andrea Kondziela (FB1) / Prof. i.V. Martin Manegold (FB1) / Prof. Camilo Cifuentes (La Salle, COL) / Dipl.-Ing. Ute Aland (FB9) / Jörg von der Reidt (FB9) / Isabella Previti (FB1) / Johannes Homann (FB1)
Final concept and realization research pavilion FB1/MID: Abdelhady, Omar / Acar, Kiymet / Aykin, Yusuf / elkassar, Salah / Hamdy, Mostafa / Molaei-Maqsoudbeki, Marzie / Nafez, Maryam / Parejo, Elizabeth / Ripploh, Maja / Rodriguez Altamirano, Edgardo / Taslibeyaz, Israfil / Thomas, Shinu / Türedi, Özge
Support for realization/assembly: Zahra Mohebbi (FB1), Simon Aland (HX), Felix (HX) , Mohamed Mahmoud (FB1)
Final concept landscape architecture: Leandra Simon (FB9), Inga Wißling (FB9)
Implementation Landscape Architecture FB9: Angela Braches / Bianca Kropp / Oskar Weber / Daniel Bolinth / Julia Rubart / Niels Finke / Lisa Slawinjak / Lara Elsner / Andreas Reinhold / Marvin Kagerer / Samantha Gläser-Sonco
First Concept / Competition 2021: Leandra Simon (FB9) / Inga Wißling (FB9) / Andres Buitrago (FB1) / Ardalan Mirhadinejadfard (FB1)
Partners: Formatio GmbH, Goldbeck GmbH, City of Höxter, Landesgartenschau Höxter, Stauden Junge, TH OWL
Supporters: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Miriam Pein-Hackelbusch (FB4) / Prof. Jens-Uwe Schulz (FB1) / Prof. Ralf Steffen (Dean FB9) / Prof. Nikolai Gerzen (FB3) / Prof. Martin Stosch (FB7) / Thomaz Vieira (FB1) / Gizem Demirhan (FB1) / Claus Rudolf Deis (FB3) / Markus Opitz (FB1) / Markus Dubbert (FB1) / Sebastian Plate (FB7) / Lena Reinhardt (FB7) / Martin Hackel (FB7) / Damian Löcke (FB3) / Niklas Huppa (FB3) / Victor Sardenberg / Frank Hadwiger / Elisabeth von Reden / Joachim von Reden