Though there is no mushroom specie large enough to accommodate living, a designer has suggested that he may be able to make one if he only cranks out enough of his patented “mushroom bricks.”
The fact is, he’s confident that he can do it, because he’s already build a showpiece called “Mycotecture”—a 6×6 mushroom brick arch from Ganoderma lucidum or reishi mushrooms.
Phil Ross doesn’t make use of the mushroom, rather he utilizes mycelium, the fast-growing fibrous roots that composes most of the fungus lifeforms. The growth of Mycelium is fast, and it is waterproof, very durable, non-toxic, biodegradable, and fire-resistant.
Ross makes use of this to build bricks by growing mycelium in bags of delicious (to mushrooms) sawdust, before drying them out and cutting them with extremely heavy-duty steel blades.
This works because mushrooms digest cellulose in the sawdust, converting it into chitin, the same fiber that insect exoskeletons are made from.
According to Discover Magazine:
The bricks have the feel of a composite material with a core of spongy cross grained pulp that becomes progressively denser towards its outer skin. The skin itself is incredibly hard, shatter resistant, and can handle enormous amounts of compression.
One design/architecture website described these mushroom bricks as “stronger than concrete,” while another quotes Ross in an interview suggesting that it could replace all manner of plastic polymer building materials.
Indeed, designers have already used mycelium to make cloth hats, sea-worthy canoes, and eco-friendly coffins. Ross’ next plan, according to the same interview, is to build an entire house for 12-20 people out of reishi mycelium.