MycoTree - Seoul Biennale for Architecture and Urbanism 2017

Invited by curator Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Dirk Hebel's chair and the Block Research Group designed MycoTree, a naturally grown mycelium structure, for the Seoul Biennale for Architecture and Urbanism 2017.

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MycoTree is a spatial branching structure made out of load-bearing mycelium components. Its geometry was designed using 3D graphic statics, keeping the weak material in compression only. Its complex nodes were grown in digitally fabricated moulds.

Utilising only mycelium and bamboo, the structure represents a provocative vision of how we may move beyond the mining of our construction materials from the earth’s crust to their cultivation and urban growth; how achieving stability through geometry rather than through material strength opens up the possibility of using weaker materials structurally and safely; and, ultimately, how regenerative resources in combination with informed structural design have the potential to propose an alternative to established, structural materials for a more sustainable building industry.

MycoTree is the result of a collaboration between the Professorship of Sustainable Construction at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Block Research Group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich. It is the centrepiece of the “Beyond Mining – Urban Growth” exhibition at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 in Seoul, Korea curated by Hyungmin Pai and Alejandro Zaera-Polo, and will be on display in Pavilion i7 at the Donuimun Museum Village from September 1st to November 5th 2017.

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Team / Authors

Production partner

  • Mycotech, PT Miko Bahtera Nusantara, Indonesia


  • ETH Global
  • ETH Zürich - Department of Architecture 
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) 
  • Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) - Singapore-ETH Centre


Stereotomy of Forces

Stereotomy of Forces

This research investigates force-driven structural design methodologies that are based on geometric constructions, manipulations and transformations of polyhedral force diagrams used in three-dimensional graphic statics.


Heisel F., Schlesier K., Lee J., Rippmann M., Saeidi N., Javadian A., Hebel D.E. and Block P.Design of a load-bearing mycelium structure through informed structural engineering,Proceeding of the World Congress on Sustainable Technologies (WCST),2017 (December).
Hebel D., Block P., Heisel F. and Méndez Echenagucia T.Beyond Mining - Urban Growth: The architectural innovation of cultivated resources through appropriate engineering,Imminent Commons: The Expanded City,Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Jeffrey S. Anderson (editors),Actar Publishers,2017.Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 - Exhibition Catalogue.


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