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Artist and Scientist Phil Ross Wants to Make Buildings Out of Fungal Bricks

Fungal Polyominoes, Courtesy of Phil Ross. 

Artist, scientist, and madcap inventor of sorts—Phil Ross is known for his unusual work with mushrooms, which you may have seen in the form of trippy furniture at the Workshop Residence and the Exploratorium. (His pieces are also currently on display at the San Jose Museum of Art through April 27.) But the most groundbreaking application of Ross’ decade-long exploration of fungus is yet to come. This spring, at Parsons in NYC, the San Francisco Art Institute alum will unveil his patent-pending fungal “bricks,” a lightweight and highly durable organic material that might just be the next big innovation in eco-friendly construction. Tested in collaboration with eminent materials scientists, the bricks are a composition of cast mycelium and wood particles and are fully biodegradable.