By kristin


The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 have just announced The Living as the winner of the 2014 Young Architects Program (YAP) in New York. A kind of holy grail for emerging architectural talent, every year YAP invites architects to develop creative, eco-minded designs for a temporary installation in PS1’s outdoor courtyard that incorporates elements of shade, seating and water. This summer, the NY-based design and research studio, The Living, will provide the backdrop for PS1’s Warm Up music series with Hy-Fi – a series of twisting, morphing, compostable brick towers made from agricultural waste.


Exterior view of PS1 (photo via The Living)

A nod to both the shimmering skyscrapers and brick buildings that dot the city’s landscape, Hy-Fi will be built from a mixture of organic and reflective bricks, designed to play off the unique properties of two novel materials. The bottom of the structure will feature organic bricks made from a combination of agricultural waste (corn stalks) and mushroom mycelium (a natural, self-assembling glue) – a process developed by Ecovative but used on a large scale for the first time with Hy-Fi. Meanwhile, the top of the towers will contain reflective bricks, developed in collaboration with 3M, which will serve as growing trays for the organic bricks and, once constructed, bounce light down on the towers and the ground.

“Recurring to the latest developments in biotech, it reinvents the most basic component of architecture—the brick—as both a material of the future and a classic trigger for open-ended design possibilities,” says MoMA curator Pedro Gadanho.


Interior view of PS1 courtyard (photo via The Living)

Sustainable architecture is nothing new for the 15-year-old YAP series – past winners have incorporated recycled materials and anti-polluting nanotechnology into their designs – but Hy-Fi is the first installation to be built with a near-zero carbon footprint. According to MoMA, “The structure temporarily diverts the natural carbon cycle to produce a building that grows out of nothing but earth and returns to nothing but earth—with almost no waste, no energy needs, and no carbon emissions.”


Rendering of this summer’s PS1 Warm Up series (photo via The Living)

We can’t wait to see the final result of this living structure. If successful, it could create a whole new paradigm for architecture. At a minimum, it will introduce the public to the concept of bio design. Hy-Fi will open at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens in late June.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.