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Brief Published: 10 Jul 2014

Compostable Hy-Fi Pavilion


Made from 100% recyclable, bio-based bricks, this summer’s eagerly anticipated pavilion at New York art institution MoMA PS1 is almost entirely compostable. 

The Hy-Fi pavilion – designed by New York-based firm The Living – is a towering, outdoor structure of 10,000 organic bricks made from corn stalks (an agricultural byproduct that would normally go to waste). These stalks are chopped up and combined with the root structure of mushrooms – otherwise known as mycelium – and can be returned to the earth once the pavilion is demolished.

The bricks were made by US brand Ecovative, which grows them in shaped moulds in as little as five days – requiring almost no energy and producing no carbon emissions. Sam Harrington, product design manager at Ecovative, told Stylus: “Production is very low – it’s not extractive, nor involves removing minerals from the earth. And at the end of the day, when the structure is done, the nutrients return to the soil.”

Interest in mycelium bricks has been gaining ground recently. Although Ecovative has been developing this material for several years, Hy-Fi is the first project that has seen it applied to an outdoor architectural structure. Ecovative uses the material to replace conventional, disposable plastics in protective packaging – see more on the company’s process in our upcoming Industry Trend, Packaging Futures: Sustainability, publishing next week.

Developments in bio-plastics continue as people seek viable and sustainable alternatives for high-performance products. Look to Biomaterials for application across a wide range of markets, from building materials to automotive and packaging. We’re also looking to the wider conversation on the future of plastic in our forthcoming plastics report, publishing at the end of this month.

The Hy-Fi pavilion remains open until September 7.