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Move Over, Styrofoam; The Fungi Are Here

By Daniel Mathews,

In the entire tiny-house movement, one tiny house stands out: it sounds the kookiest, but is the most likely to transform your world some day. Called the Mushroom Tiny House, it’s now growing in the upstate New York plant of Ecovative Design. (Rhymes with “innovative,” not with “evocative.”)

As you can see in the picture, it has inner and outer sheathing of tongue-and-groove wood. Within those walls, Ecovative is culturing fungi. On purpose. Mixed with moist ground-up corn stalks or other agricultural waste that serves as its food, this fungal mycelium takes just a few days to fill the space, at which point it will be dried out and killed. It will provide fire-resistant, vapor-permeable insulation, while also being so strong, and adhering to the wood so firmly, that no studs are needed.

wall with braces

A wall of the Mushroom Tiny House, with braces that keep the two wood panels from spreading farther apart under the pressure of growing mycelium. Via Ecovative.

(What is mycelium? It’s the “body” of a mushroom fungus, living year-round in the soil or other substrate, whereas the mushroom itself is just a temporary spore-disseminating organ. Mycelium comprises miles and miles of fast-growing, tiny, tangled, fibrous tubes each just one cell thick.) Read More