Queens, NY (2014)
|Role:||Design lead and construction management|
Commissioned by the MoMA PS1 museum as part of their annual ‘Young Architects Competition’, Hy-Fi offers a captivating physical environment and a new paradigm for sustainable architecture. In 2014, we tested and refined a new low-energy biological building material, manufactured 10,000 compostable bricks, constructed a 13-meter-tall tower, hosted public cultural events for three months, disassembled the structure, composted the bricks, and returned the resulting soil to local community gardens. This successful experiment offers many possibilities for future construction.
This diagram shows a typical construction process (left) as seperate from the natural ecosystem resulting in waste. Our proposed system (right) uses natural waste materials to create new building materials, eventually returning them as waste directly back into the ecosystem.
To make the material for the structure, 10,000 compostable bricks were grown at a specialized facility in upstate New York. To make the bricks, a set of vaccuum-formed molds were filled with a mix of mycelium roots and agricultural waste. Then, over the course of 5 days the mycelium grows and eats the agricultural waste, eventually forming a solid brick. These bricks were then used to construct the temporary structure. At the end of the summer, the structure was disassembled and all 10,000 bricks were composted and donated to local community gardens in Queens, NY.
A custom bottom-up agent-based algorithm was created to solve the complex problem of laying out the brick pattern to describe a doubly-curved surfaces from a set of only 3 unique size brick modules.
Views of installation during summer ‘Warm-up’ parties at the MoMA PS1.
View of interior of structure, where the removal of structurally unecessary small brick modules creates pseudo-random openings letting rays of light into the interior space.