A cache of experimental pavilions and organic shelters show what is possible if we embrace biodegradable alternatives to concrete and steel.
The Biomaterial Building Exposition is being hosted at the University of Virginia, with designs contributed by students from its architecture school as well as visiting professors and researchers. Five pavilions show how carbon-sequestering bio-materials could be used in construction right now.
Penn State professor Benay Gürsoy Toykoç’s MycoCreate 2.0 pavilion sits on spider-like legs, made using blocks of mycelium – the branching structure that supports fungi. Another shelter, entitled La Parete Fungina and made by Jonathan Dessi-Olive, also uses mycelium’s mouldable nature to grow a compostable wall.
The rest of the show’s pavilions focus on the possibilities of lumber and ways of reducing leftover wood. The snake-like UNLOG by Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic uses waste wood, robotically sliced into concertina forms to allow the original log to be ‘stretched’ further.
Mix and Match, by Jessica Colangelo and Charles Sharpless, turns offcuts and overages into a gridded, reconfigurable system, and From Wood to Tree, designed by Liz Gálvez, explores how lumber can be returned to the forest where it can degrade and support new life.
The Biomaterial Building Exposition is free to view at the UVA campus and on display until 30 April 2022. Browse the gallery.