UBC Graduate Research

Mushroom Furniture Dahmen, Joseph Jun 7, 2016

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
66428-Dahmen_J_et_al_SEEDS_2016.pdf [ 14.36MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 66428-1.0343116.json
JSON-LD: 66428-1.0343116-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 66428-1.0343116-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 66428-1.0343116-rdf.json
Turtle: 66428-1.0343116-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 66428-1.0343116-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 66428-1.0343116-source.json
Full Text
66428-1.0343116-fulltext.txt
Citation
66428-1.0343116.ris

Full Text

 UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student ReportMushroom FurnitureJoseph Dahmen, Amber Frid-Jimenez  University of British ColumbiaVOL 500June 07, 201611302159 Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or a SEEDS team representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”. UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Report            Mushroom Furniture Joseph Dahmen University of British Columbia June 7, 2016   2 Table of Contents Overview 3 Project Description 3 Discussion   4 Conclusion  5 Appendices  Appendix A: Technical report on cultivation of mycelium biocomposites Appendix B: Mycelium Mockup at Museum of Vancouver Appendix C: They Grow Without Us: Mushroom Furniture at UBC Appendix D: Soft Matters: Responsive Architectural Operations  3 Overview This UBC SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies) project activated a space on the UBC campus through the design and fabrication of a architectural seating installation using sustainable biocomposite materials derived from mycelium (mushrooms) and cellulosic byproducts of the BC forestry industry. The aesthetic and structural potential of these materials were explored using laboratory testing and design-based research methodologies. The result was playful and inviting seating for the UBC campus. The installation explored concepts and modes that communicate the values of sustainability in a visceral way through innovative forms on which people can sit and relax. Biocomposites are sustainable, high-performance materials with the potential to replace the engineered woods and other structural materials now on the market. Mycelium-based biocomposites refer to materials in which loose cellulosic materials are inoculated with mycelium spores, which act as binders to produce solid objects. Typical strength is comparable to that of expanded polystyrene (XPS) foams in wide use in the North American construction industry as thermal insulation. Once the desired amount of strength has been achieved, growth is checked through the application of modest amounts of heat. The finished materials are natural, renewable, biodegradable, and fully compostable at project end.  The project contributed to sustainability at UBC in three primary ways: 1. Laboratory testing of an emergent sustainable material2. Design exploration with students of a leading edge sustainable material3. Development of an architectural seating installation on campus using biocompositesthat provided the UBC community an opportunity to experience the explorationviscerally, through direct contact with them.The project contributed innovative interdisciplinary research at the intersection of materials, building technology, mycology and sustainable architecture, bringing the research out of the laboratory so that it could be directly experienced by a wide segment of the UBC community.  Project participants included Joseph Dahmen at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (PI), Amber Frid-Jimenez, Canada Research Chair of Design and Technology at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as student research assistants at both institutions, Scott Henderson, a Vancouver-based mycologist, Collin Varner,  UBC Horticulturalist, and the president and technical staff of All Seasons Mushrooms, a commercial mushroom farm located in Langley, BC. Project Description This UBC SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies) project created an architectural installation that activated a central space on the UBC campus with public seating fabricated with mycelium biocomposites. The installation drew upon interdisciplinary research conducted at UBC on mycelium biocomposites derived from local mushrooms and by-products of the forestry industry. The installation utilized design-based research methodology to explore the aesthetic and structural potentials of these cutting edge sustainable material in the form of playful, elegant and inviting seating for the UBC campus. The installation communicated the value of interdisciplinary research and sustainability to a broad public in a visceral way through innovative furniture on which people can sit and relax. Biocomposites are high-performance sustainable materials with the potential to replace engineered woods and other structural materials in wide use within architecture and construction. Mycelium-based biocomposites refer to materials in which loose granular materials are held together by mycelium, or the roots of mushrooms. The sterilized growth 4 medium is inoculated with mycelium spores, which grow throughout the interstitial spaces of the substrate to produce a cross-linked three-dimensional matrix of structural polysaccharides. Once fully colonized with mycelium, the substrate is then ground up and moulded into shapes. The shapes can be removed from their moulds after several days, at which point they are typically subjected  high temperatures to dry them and check the further growth of mycelium.  The finished material develops the approximate strength of polystyrene foams (e.g. Styrofoam), making it a possible substitute for these environmentally toxic architectural materials currently in wide use in building construction. Mycelium biocomposites can be combined with durable natural coatings to produce objects that are renewable, biodegradable, and fully compostable. Research at conducted UBC has proven the feasibility of producing mycelium biocomposite blocks using pleurotus ostreatus (commonly known as oyster mushroom) mushroom spores native to the region in a growth medium of sterilized sawdust.  The project was divided into two primary phases as follows: 1. Phase I (Sept 2014-June 2015): ResearchMaterial research and design exploration, in which samples of myceliumbiocomposites were be created and tested in a range of conditions. Differentfabrication methods (molding, CNC routing, hand shaping) were tested and differentcoatings and other finishing options were investigated (bio-epoxies, conventionalpolyester resins, and poly urea-based elastomeric coatings). An iterative designmethodology was  pursued to incorporate knowledge gained into Phase I prototypes.2. Phase II (August 2015- April 2016):  FabricationFarbrication of architectural seating installation. During Phase II the knowledgegained during Phase I was be applied to produce a temporary seating installation oncampus open to the UBC community. The results of Phase II can be found inAppendices B,C, and DResearch during Phase I of the project was carried out at the Lasserre Building. The results of Phase I research can be found in Appendix A. During Phase II, research and growth experiments were carried out in a 1,500 square foot greenhouse at the south end of the UBC Campus, which UBC Facilities granted the use of from August 2015 to May 2016.  The architectural installation was installed on April 12, 2016 at Raymond and Money M.C. Lee Square, a new public square at the intersection of University and East Mall roads, where remained for two months. The installation was commissioned by UBC Campus and Community Planning and approved as a part of the UBC Centennial Initiative in the area of sustainability. Funding was provided by UBC SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies) and UBC Campus and Community Planning.  Funds from the Peter Wall Arts Based Initiative helped cover installation materials, fabrication expenses, and graduate research assistants working on the project to see it through to completion. Additional funding received from the Alma Mater Society (AMS) was used to organize outreach activities among the student population at UBC. These included a moulding demonstration, in which students and other members of the UBC community had the opportunity to try moulding the mycelium, and a social event at the opening of the installation on campus.  In addition to the installation at UBC, the research public exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver. This installation, entitled Mycelium Mockup, was held in August 2015. Visual documentation of the installation can be found in Appendix B, which was the basis for a peer reviewed conference poster documenting the research that was presented at 2016 annual  5 meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The installation and related themes are further explored in “Soft Matters,” an invited peer-reviewed 2,500 word article by Joseph Dahmen published in the Journal of Technoetic Arts, a transdisciplinary journal that focuses upon the juncture between art, technology and the mind. The article is included in Appendix D. The architectural furniture installation will be the subject of peer reviewed journal publications in the future, in addition to a technical article documenting the production of mycelium biocomposites. An illustrated write-up of the installation will also be submitted to online sources documenting sustainable architecture and the project submitted for sustainability awards within the architecture and product design fields.  Discussion  The relentless cycle of consumption characteristic of contemporary architecture highlights the need to rethink its constituent materials. Mycelium biocomposites are visionary materials that suggest a future in which dynamic architectural components are grown rather than manufactured, provoking new approaches to architectural production. Mycelium biocomposites, which refer to materials in which granular materials are held together the roots of mushrooms, suggest a future in which dynamic architectural components are grown rather than manufactured, adding to local ecosystems and serving needs that are simultaneously structural, aesthetic, and visceral. The finished materials develop strength comparable to that of polystyrene foams (e.g. Styrofoam), making them a possible substitute for these environmentally toxic architectural materials currently in wide use in building construction. Mycelium biocomposites can be combined with durable natural coatings to produce objects that are renewable, biodegradable, and fully compostable. The SEEDS research at UBC demonstrates the feasibility of producing mycelium biocomposite blocks using local materials and mushroom strains.   Mycelium biocomposites offer the prospect of autopoesis, in which silently growing buildings replace the shrieking saws and clanging hammers of carbon-intensive construction methods. During the life of a building, the flexible living materials are capable of adapting to change and serving needs that are simultaneously structural, aesthetic, and visceral.  When buildings are decommissioned at the end of their useful life, the mycelium blocks, which encode dormant organic decay into their basic structure, add valuable material to local ecosystems by breaking down other assemblies and making nutrients bio-available to other organisms. A response to unceasing cycle of demolition and rebuilding in contemporary free market cities, the mycelium biocomposite furniture installation suggests an alternate future in which the materiality of architecture engages with sustainability and temporality in new and productive ways.  Conclusion  This UBC SEEDS project activated a space on the UBC campus through the design and fabrication of a architectural seating installation using emergent sustainable biocomposite materials derived from mycelium and cellulosic byproducts of the BC forestry industry.  Biocomposites are sustainable, high-performance materials with the potential to replace the engineered woods and other structural materials now on the market. The finished materials are natural, renewable, biodegradable, and fully compostable at project end.   The project contributed to sustainability at UBC in three primary ways: 1. Laboratory testing of an emergent sustainable material 2. Design exploration of a leading edge sustainable material  3. Development of an architectural seating installation on campus using biocomposites that provided the UBC community an opportunity to experience the exploration viscerally, through direct contact with them.   6  The project showed that durable mycelium biocomposite materials can be grown from regional sources of fungus and byproducts of the regional forestry industry. The project contributed to innovative interdisciplinary research at the intersection of materials, building technology, mycology and sustainable architecture, bringing the research out of the laboratory so that it can be directly experienced by a wide segment of the UBC community. The project demonstrates that there is substantial potential for developing these emergent materials further for use in Canada.    TweetUBC NewsMushrooms hold potential for sustainable building materialsMedia Release | April 19, 2016UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture professor Joe Dahmen.We slice them on pizza, toss them in salad and sauté them in stirfry. But have you ever thought about usingmushrooms as furniture? According to the work of a team of researchers, the humble fungus is ready to leave thekitchen and take up a role as a building material.In an innovative design project, six new stylish benches have been installed outside the UBC Bookstore.Assembled from light­coloured honeycomb­shaped bricks under a top of clear acrylic, the seats are more than aneye­catching spot where students can relax—they’re also very much alive, grown from a blend of oyster mushroomspores and alder sawdust packed into moulds.The roots of the project stretch back to 2014, when assistant professor at UBC School of Architecture andLandscape Architecture Joe Dahmen and his partner in work and life, Amber Frid­Jimenez, Canada ResearchChair in Design and Technology at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, were expecting their second child. Theyhad been working on an architectural installation fabricated of recycled polystyrene blocks—not exactly the mostbenign material —when they decided to explore more eco­friendly options.“Amber couldn’t get near the thing because it was so toxic,” Dahmen recalled, touring the greenhouse where thebenches were grown. “It got me thinking that there must be a more natural material that would still enable a similarrange of expression.”In their search for an alternative, Dahmen and Frid­Jimenez discovered the world of mycelium biocomposites, anemerging field in which mushroom roots, or mycelium, grow in loose cellulosic material such as sawdust. Theresults are durable materials with attributes similar to that of polystyrene foams. Although a U.S. company recentlysigned a contract to provide Ikea with mycelium­based packaging, the method had yet to be done in Canada.Through UBC’s social ecological economic development studies (SEEDS) sustainability program(https://sustain.ubc.ca/courses­teaching/seeds) , Dahmen and Frid­Jimenez worked with university students andstaff to develop a scalable method of producing mycelium biocomposites using two local materials: oystermushroom spores and alder sawdust.To address the size limitation of the material—mycelium biocomposites risk contamination by mould and bacteria ifthey exceed a half­metre in thickness—Dahmen developed a new process that drew inspiration from a wasps’ nestdiscovered in the empty greenhouse that would house the project.“I was really amazed at the honeycomb structure, because it’s a highly efficient way of occupying space,” he said,holding a piece of wasps’ nest to display its dense grid of hexagonal chambers. “It’s scalable, it can go in anydirection, and it’s extremely spatially efficient.”Email(http://news.ubc.ca/2016/04/19/mushrooms-hold-potential-for-sustainable-building-materials/?share=email&nb=1)252SharePutting a hole in the centre of each block of mycelium biocomposite not only allowed Dahmen to grow largerobjects, it also provides a place in the benches for the mushroom to fruit. “That way, it’s contained, so people cansee it but they won’t worry about getting it on their clothes when they sit down,” he notes. The fact that oystermushroom fruit are “delicious”, said Dahmen, was a consolation whenever the growing process went awry.Perhaps the greatest potential of mycelium biocomposites is as an alternative insulation material for buildings.“Their biggest application in the long run is in architecture and construction,” said Dahmen. “The average age ofcommercial buildings in North America is under 40 years. If we could imagine construction materials that addpositive value to ecosystems as they break down, we have a whole new paradigm for the way we approachbuildings, at a time when we’re demolishing most buildings long before they wear out.”Dahmen also foresees mycelium biocomposites as a replacement for many other roles played by polystyrene, frompackaging to building insulation. “Styrofoam is a material that functions for a short amount of time as packaging,and then spends hundreds, if not thousands, of years in a landfill,” he observed. Not only does myceliumbiocomposite require much less energy to create, it also completely decomposes when composted, and helpsbreak down other materials in the waste stream, making them available to other organisms.Photo gallery: Background: The five­step bench creation process1. Alder sawdust was sterilized, blended with nutrients, and inoculated with the spores of Pleurotus ostreatus(oyster mushroom) at a local mushroom farm.2. The mycelium (mushroom roots) were left to grow in the sawdust for two weeks and then transferred to agreenhouse at UBC3. The sawdust and mycelium mix was shredded in a wood chipper, and then packed into moulds.4. After five days, the moulds were removed and the blocks of mycelium biocomposite were wrapped in Saranwrap to encourage the growth of chitin (a strong polysaccharide similar to lobster shells) on their exterior.5. After drying, the blocks were ready to be assembled into benches, and covered with clear acrylic.UBC’s SEEDS sustainability program  (https://sustain.ubc.ca/courses­teaching/seeds) advances campussustainability by creating partnerships between students, faculty and staff that deliver innovative and impactfulresearch projects.Find other stories about: Amber Frid­Jimenez  (http://news.ubc.ca/tag/amber­frid­jimenez/) , Joe Dahmen(http://news.ubc.ca/tag/joe­dahmen/) , Mushrooms  (http://news.ubc.ca/tag/mushrooms/) , Pleurotus ostreatus(http://news.ubc.ca/tag/pleurotus­ostreatus/) , Sustainable building materials  (http://news.ubc.ca/tag/sustainable­building­materials/) , UBC Bookstore  (http://news.ubc.ca/tag/ubc­bookstore/) , UBC School of Architecture andLandscape Architecture  (http://news.ubc.ca/tag/ubc­school­of­architecture­and­landscape­architecture/) , UBCSEEDS sustainability program  (http://news.ubc.ca/tag/ubc­seeds­sustainability­program/)ContactLou Corpuz­Bosshart UBC Public Affairs Tel: 604.822.2048 Cell: 604.999.0473 lou.bosshart@ubc.ca  (mailto:lou.bosshart@ubc.ca)Media ResourcesMedia Contacts  (http://news.ubc.ca/media­contacts/)Experts Directory  (http://news.ubc.ca/ubc­experts/)Digital Subscriptions  (http://news.ubc.ca/media­resources/e­services/)UBC Map  (http://maps.ubc.ca)UBC Photos  (http://news.ubc.ca/media­resources/ubc­photos/)UBC Facts and Figures  (http://news.ubc.ca/media­resources/ubc­facts­and­figures/)TV and Radio Studios  (http://news.ubc.ca/media­resources/tv­and­radio­studios/)UBC's Okanagan Campus Newsroom  (http://news.ubc.ca/ubc­okanagan­news­room/)UBC Bookstorescale 1 : 2000 1 5 10 mExpanded Polystyrene00.0250.0500.0750.1000.1250.1500.1750.2000 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25AVERAGESTRESS (Mpa)STRAIN (%)Expanded PolystyreneSTRAIN (%)STRESS (Mpa)00.0250.0500.0750.1000.1250.1500.1750.2000.2250.2500 0.025 0.050 0.075 0.100 0.125 0.150AVERAGEUnconfined Compression Test  01Unconfined Compression Test  02MUSHROOM MOULDING PARTYan afternoon of mushroom moulding, getting a first hand look at research at ubc sala that grows fully biodegradable furniture by combining cellulosic wood waste and mycelium1-4PM ubc plant operations nursery 6029 nurseries road v6t 1w5 from sw marine drive turn north onto wesbrook mall. nurseries rd is the first right. ubc nursery is on the left. 200m before environmental services facility at the end of the road.  or take 41 from the busloop and get off at Triumfcentre and walk 300mbrought to you by ams, seeds, and ubc centennial initiativeevent:location:

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.66428.1-0343116/manifest

Comment

Related Items