As part of a research project with the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) titled “Material- and Structurally Informed Freeform Structures,” the Institute of Architecture and Media are researching, among other things, a new type of organic building material within a special research field in cooperation with eight other research groups at the Vienna University of Technology and the University of Innsbruck. The material gets its stability from the connections formed between clay and mycelium, microscopic fungal threads and the resulting tissue, so-called hyphae. A new 3D printing process for ceramics now makes it possible, using specially developed machine control, to “inject” the fine fungus threads into various proportions during printing or before and after firing the ceramic. Therefore, the respective process techniques allow for the creation of building materials with different static and technical characteristics, which can result in a complex and self-contained structure depending on the arrangement. Through targeted and controllable growth using cellulose and lignin, a by-product of paper production, modules are created that are firmly bonded by natural growth and can even “heal” themselves; they also cause little to no emissions and are 100 percent recyclable or reusable.
March 2020 to March 2024