Hy-Fi: Reinventing the brick for a low-carbon, compostable structure

THU September 8, 2016 - MON September 12, 2016, 10AM - 7:30 PM
Hy-Fi The Living Alchemists Exhibition Festival 2016Credit: Credit: Charles Roussell

The Living

Hy-Fi offers a captivating physical environment and a new paradigm for sustainable architecture. In this project we tested and refined a new low-energy building material, manufactured 10,000 compostable bricks, constructed a 13-meter-high tower, hosted public cultural events for three months, dismantled the structure, composted the bricks, and returned the resulting soil to local community gardens.  We designed a new type of “grown” brick through an innovative combination of corn stalk waste and living mushrooms with a root-like growth. The bricks are lightweight, low cost, and extremely sustainable. The manufacturing process engages bio-technology, agriculture, and industrial manufacturing. The composting process engages the municipal solid-waste stream. In contrast to typical short-sighted architecture, our project is designed to disappear as much as it is designed to appear.

Client: Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1; Architect: The Living, David Benjamin (Principal), John Locke (Project Lead), Danil Nagy (Project Lead), Damon Lau, Ray Wang, Jim Stoddart, Dale Zhao; Structural engineer: Arup (Matthew Clark and Shaina Saporta)

Organic materials: Ecovative (Eben Bayer, Joe Risico, Sam Harrington, Garrett Scheffler, Peter Flannery); Daylighting materials: 3M (Charles Shaklee, Guy Kallman, Terry Haskins,

Sarah Claypool, George Levendusky, Byron Trotter, Gina Albanese); Construction: Art Domantay Artworks; Masonry: PMA Construction (Artur Tyszuk); Software: Autodesk Dynamo; Structural testing: Columbia Engineering Carlton Strength and Materials Laboratory; Natural coating: Shabd Simon-Alexander and Audrey Louise Reynolds; Natural weatherproofing: Silacote; Foundation supplier: Krinner; Foundation installation: Terra Smart; Video: Brooklyn Digital Foundry; Branding: Bruce Mau Design; Salvaged material and compost: Build It Green!; Wind engineer: BMT Fluid Mechanics; Environmental engineer: Atelier Ten; Landscape consulting: SCAPE Landscape Architecture;

Accelerated aging: Advanced Metal Coatings Incorporated; Fabrication: Associated Fabrication;  Fabrication: LeeLABStudio