Dominik Einfalt


Different ways to build an octagon

What is the most efficient way to come close to a circle, but still not use too many mycelium blocks? After some testing we found out an octagonal shape for the tower would fit our purpose best.



How to cut a Mycelium block - 45°-cut Dominik Einfalt

An octagonal shape is always based on a 45-degree angle, so we started with one cut with a 45-degree angle, using a common wood-saw. Then we had two pieces. They were different though, we were left with one bigger piece and one corner piece. How can we create an octagonal shape with these bricks? The first thing we tried was to use eight of the bigger pieces to create an octagonal shaped layer.

Good, but now we still had some unused pieces. The second thing we did was combining these corner pieces with uncut bricks, to create the same octagonal shape, but bigger. Then we started to think about ways to combine these bricks, and found a total of five ways. 

Finally we decided to go for 1-2-2-1-2-2 rhythm so we could use all the pieces, and would not spill any of the material. We kept on going in this rhythm until we had about 26 layers with a height of 220 cm. It was finally a high tower! We reached a height where you could not look over it anymore. It was not a massive tower, but it felt like a massive step in this project.

Pressing Matters

You have to know, the bricks are heavy. These towers weigh more than a ton, so the bricks get compressed by pressure when you layer them on top of each other. To get more control over the material, we thought it would help to press te bricks before using them.  As we have hundreds of blocks to press. We created a press with a car-jack to make the process easier. It worked quite well. 


Self-built Mycelium Block press - Nadine Schütz

Only the carjacks that we used to build the press did not last long. Factories trust you that you will not use the car jack hundreds of times, you are probably not that bad of driver to have to replace your car wheels several times a week. Which was why after about a 100 blocks, they broke. In the long term, this was therefore not the best solution.

Then we found out that actually we weigh about 80 kilos, and if you step with just your foot on it, you create quite a lot of pressure. What if we could press the bricks by just walking on it? We created this ritual where we placed the bricks in an infinity symbol and just walked over them. It worked, but of course, it took quite a while to do all the bricks in this manner.

The next way was more efficient: we asked our team to dance on the bricks with us. We had ourselves a nice Friday evening, one and a half meter apart, with some music and ended up with the best-pressed bricks so far.

Then we had to saw some of them to create our different shapes. The building part was quite easy. No connection was needed, no glue in between. Just stack them. As long as the mycelium is alive, it will connect to the other bricks.

The weakest point of this Tower's cycle is when we build it and when it decomposes, but in between, it only gets stronger and stronger.