Claire L Cardwell en The Naked Architect, Architects and Technicians, English Co Founder • The Andromeda Club 24/6/2018 · 3 min de lectura · +800

Would You Live in a House made of Fungus?

Would You Live in a House made of Fungus?

Living in a house made of fungi is a distinct possibility in the future.  Fungi are the key to a new low carbon, fire and insect resistant building material called a mycelium composite.

Agricultural and Industrial waste is combined with the Trametes versicolor fungus to make lightweight strong bricks.  It's considerably cheaper than synthetic plastics or engineered wood and reduces the amount of waste that would be incinerated or dumped in a landfill.

(A Rice Hulls, B, Glass Fines, C Rice Hulls and Glass Fines combined with Trametes versicolor prior to baking)

Fungus is used to bind rice hulls (the indigestible part of rice) and glass fines (discarded, small or contaminated glass), it is then baked to produce a new, natural building material.  Producing these bricks is a low energy and zero carbon process, they can be molded into many shapes and are ideal for the construction and packaging industries. 

Rice is a staple crop for more than half the world, it has an annual global consumption of more than 480 million metric tonnes and 20% comprises rice hulls which are discarded.  In Australia alone over 600,000 tonnes of glass waste is produced a year.  Every metric tonne (1000kg) of recycled glass saves 315kg (694lb) of Carbon Dioxide being released during the creation of new glass.

                                                     (Rice, Glass and Fungi Bricks)

Fungi Bricks are highly fire resistant, the material is more thermally stable than synthetic polystyrene and particleboard (derived from petroleum or natural gas).  Fungal Bricks burn more slowly, with a lower heat and release less smoke and CO2 than their synthetic counterparts.  Thousands and thousands of fires occur annually and the main causes of fatalities are smoke inhalation and Carbon Monoxide poisoning.  Using Fungal Bricks in construction means that people would have more time to escape/get rescued in the event of a fire, so more lives could be saved.

The silica content of rice and glass deters termites - in Australia termites cost homeowners more than A$1.5 Billion a year for repairs and pest eradication

The mycelium composite bricks/panels are also considerably cheaper than the highly flammable petroleum and natural gas synthetic polymers and engineered woods used in insulation, furniture and paneling.  Some of the composites tested were up to 31 times cheaper!

The Fungal Bricks/Paneling are also weather resistant...


"Our construction material could provide a solution for combating infestations, as the silica content of rice and glass would make buildings less appetising to termites. The use of these fire-and-termite-resistant materials could simultaneously revolutionise the building industry and improve waste recycling." (Michell Jones, Tanmay Bhat, Tien Huynh, Everson Kandare, Richard Yuen, Chun H. Wang & Sabu John - Fire & Materials Journal)

Using Mycelium Composites for construction is highly sustainable.  Low amounts of energy are required to make them, they can replace fossil fuel derived building products and recycle the waste from glass production/recycling and rice processing.


“The findings of this study show that mycelium composites are a very economical alternative to highly flammable petroleum-derived and natural gas-derived synthetic polymers and engineering words for applications including insulation, furniture and paneling,”  (Michell Jones, Tanmay Bhat, Tien Huynh, Everson Kandare, Richard Yuen, Chun H. Wang & Sabu John - Fire & Materials Journal)

Call Claire - 011 025 4458 

I love Architecture. I think it's vital to talk about all aspects of Architecture - whether it be planning, construction, design or green building. I have written 3 E-Books & over 110 articles. Please feel free to let me know if you have any queries regarding architecture, planning & construction & I will assist you.

I am originally from the UK and moved to South Africa in 1999.  I started Blue Designs in 2004 after working as a driver for Avalon Construction on a luxury home in the Featherbrook Estate. In my spare time I am an artist and writer.

I've started two new Hives - please feel free to join!

Other Articles I have written include :-

Building Green?  Here are some tips.

Common Mistakes People make when Designing a House

The Advantages of Sustainable Building

Considering Buying or Renovating a Heritage Home?  Pros and Cons

Renovation vs New Construction - which is Greener and Better for the Environment?

Bizarre Buildings Part Two - Space Age Fantasy

Weird and Wonderful Buildings Part Three - Three Buildings that make Music

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#Clairecardwell  #ClaireLCardwell  #Bluedesigns  #Bluedesignsarchitecturaldesigners  #Rice  #Glass  #Fungi  #Construction  #Greenbuilding  #Ecofriendly  #Architecture  #Architects  #Sustainability  #Recycling  #Newbuildingmaterials #Mycelium  #Fungalbricks  #Myceliumcomposite

Claire L Cardwell 25/6/2018 · #19

@Phil Friedman - a contact of mine has his own log home building company and is President of the SA Timber Assoc. The buildings he designs and constructs are absolutely stunning!

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Claire L Cardwell 25/6/2018 · #17

#16 @Phil Friedman just looked up the CO2 Pollution caused by cement production - quite sobering reading...
"The concrete industry is one of two largest producers of carbon dioxide (CO2), creating up to 5% of worldwide man-made emissions of this gas, of which 50% is from the chemical process and 40% from burning fuel. 900 kg of CO2 are emitted for the fabrication of every ton of cement." -

When you take into account transport of materials and steel production for reinforcing slabs and foundations, you really see that construction methods need to change!

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Phil Friedman 25/6/2018 · #16

#14 The production of Portland Cement is a huge polluter and energy sink. I believe that a major obstacle to increasing the popularity of wooden houses is the slavish commitment to stud frame construction. It's just plain crappy, mechanically and aesthetically. Whereas a properly designed and engineered large-beam wooden house can be magnificent in all respects, IMO. Cheers!

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Interesting concept, @Claire L Cardwell. Surely, it beats synthetics that eventually break down due to high temperatures, etc. I am also a fan of baking soda as a cleaning product. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar both have multiple uses, as well.

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Claire L Cardwell 25/6/2018 · #14

#13 @Jerry Fletcher - I agree, I do wish that more people would consider alternative more eco friendly methods when building. Instead everyone is sticking to bricks and concrete... Even wooden buildings are not popular here yet in SA...

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Jerry Fletcher 25/6/2018 · #13

Claire, If only product adoption were as easy as the research that tells us it is viable. The difficulty is that it is a huge upsell over current methods but based on your data a really worthwhile one!

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