We are building with living mycelium waste
Is it a mushroom farm? Is it a tower? Is it fertile soil? Is it a corn field? Is it a pigeon tower?
By Arne Hendriks
The mycelium pigeon tower is a constant process of one state moving into the next. After the mushroom harvest, the old mycelium bricks are used to build a tower, a tower aspiring to become soil, the soil bringing forth the corn, the corn eaten by resident pigeons that fertilize the soil with their droppings while corn foliage is turned into blocks of mycelium substrate to once again grow mushrooms.
In the Summer of 2020, we started experimenting with different shapes and methods to build this living cycle, and investigate material decomposition as part of the design process. Different towers will emerge at the Mediamatic Biotoop. You are invited to build with us and to discuss the process with Arne Hendriks at one of his talks.
Georgia and Arne talk about their four pigeon children.
After two weeks of house arrest to allow their homing instincts to mature and feel at home in the mycelium pigeon tower we opened the door. Our pigeon children are now free to go where they want. It's a moment that is at least as exciting for the parents as it is for the pigeons.
Death is in the air, and you can smell it
The demise of the pigeon towers
While mushrooms emerge, grow, mature and decay, the towers shrink and bend under their own weight. And we keep building. Trying to reach and hold the height of the tower. We feel the need to repair holes that start to show. And it feels good. But how long can we keep building and repairing? At what…
From Packaging to Beaver Skin
How to build a mycelium pigeon tower roof #1
The pigeon and the mycelium are in joint agreement. Pigeons don’t nest on soggy surfaces and mycelium prefers high humidity, but don’t like the wet. It is critical: The tower needs a roof. But what is the right material?
Feral city pigeons have a bad reputation but that says more about us humans than it says about the pigeon. It's also a relatively recent perception. Throughout history, pigeons have always been highly valued, both for their incredible skills to find their way home, as well as for their meat and the…
Is it an urban mushroom farm? Is it a pigeon tower? Is it a pile of compost?
What are those structures outside the barn at Mediamatic?
Because these structures are made from living mycelium WHAT you call it probably depends on WHEN you encounter it. At first they are horizontal mushroom farms, and many of our neighbours have enjoyed picking the very tasty yellow oyster mushrooms that grow from its walls. If you look carefully…
Defining the Shape
Square and Round
Building living architecture pairs with failure and errors, but we get more experienced with each tower. Over time we learned to better understand how the mycelium behaves and how to respond to that. Which shape is the best to build in when building with mycelium bricks?