A Giant '100% Organic' Tower Is Coming To New York City

By Karissa Rosenfield (Read original article here)

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has selected The Living’s (David Benjamin) “circular tower of organic and reflective bricks” as winner for the Young Architects Program’s (YAP) 15th edition in New York. An exemplar of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy, the temporary installation will be built using a new method of bio-design that results in a structure made entirely from organic material. 

“Hy-Fi” gained distinction with the jury due to the ”mesmerizing” light effects reflected on its interior walls, effects achieved by the unique stacking of two new materials: Ecovative-manufactured organic bricks, made from corn stalks and specially-developed living root structures, and reflective bricks, designed by 3M, that were used as growing trays for the organic bricks before being implemented into the structure. Still prototypes, the reflective bricks will be sent back to D3 for further research upon the installation’s dismantling.

As MoMA explains: “The organic bricks are arranged at the bottom of the structure and the reflective bricks are arranged at the top to bounce light down on the towers and the ground. The structure inverts the logic of load-bearing brick construction and creates a gravity-defying effect -- instead of being thick and dense at the bottom, it is thin and porous at the bottom."

The formation is calibrated to create a micro-climate in the summer by drawing in cool air at the bottom and pushing out hot air at the top. This offers a “familiar -- yet completely new -- structure in the context of the glass towers of the New York City skyline and the brick construction of the MoMA PS1 building.”

“This year’s YAP winning project bears no small feat. It is the first sizable structure to claim near-zero carbon emissions in its construction process and, beyond recycling, it presents itself as being 100% compostable,” said Pedro Gadanho, Curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design.

“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. At MoMA PS1, The Living’s project will be showcased as a sensuous, primeval background for the Warm-Up sessions; the ideas and research behind it, however, will live on to fulfill ever new uses and purposes.”

All images courtesy of The Living