David Benjamin's Hy-Fi biodegradable tower

David Benjamin’s Hy-Fi biodegradable tower

“The Twentieth Century was the century of physics,… now the Twenty First Century is the century of biology.”

This year promises to expose even more interesting projects that represent the interesting world of innovation in design. The Young Architects Program (YAP) administered by MoMA’s PS1 New York is presenting this year’s 15th edition, best project designed by the firm The Living, titled Hy-Fi as a temporary urban landscape for this year’s Warm up Summer music series. This project instantly called my attention in terms of the cutting edge technology involving built ecologies and organic materials with cutting-edge computational technologies, biological analysis and the use of grown materials such as mycelium.

Hy-Fi from David Benjamin on Vimeo.

Designed by Architect David Benjamin co-founder of The Living, a dedicated firm on built ecologies, comprise architectural projects that are both interactive and responsive to the environment. The application of technology merged with biological strategies can surpass traditional conceptions of Architecture, providing innovative solutions that promise carbon emission-free and compostable products such as the Hy-Fi.


The project is comprised of a series of organic circular-brick towers with shiny mirroring film on top produced by 3M. The Living’s design utilizes Mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi (learn about it here) and corn crops waste in the mix, creating a new type of brick that is 100% organic, compostable and closed-cycled approved; process aided by Ecovative, a company for which The Living collaborates. By utilizing 3M’s mirroring film as molds, the mycelium-corn crop mix is formed into a brick shaped material for building the tower; the film is then incorporated on top of the structure as complete utilization of its fabrication process. There is no energy, no waste and no carbon emission in the construction and deconstruction as bricks will return to the ground as compost for the life cycle of organisms in nature. The statement exhibited within innovation with by-products and grown materials, projects a new cultural society of local grown produce, incentives on local agriculture and protecting the environment from construction pollution and deconstruction debris.

Functionally, the organic structure will provide a cool environment for the hot climate expected at the end of June throughout September, described by MoMA’s PS1 as follows:

“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 structure iscalibrated to create a cool micro-climate in the summer by drawing in cool air at the bottom and pushing out hot air at the top. The structure creates mesmerizing light effects on its interior walls through reflected caustic patterns.


David Benjamin is an Architect and Professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Founder of Living Architecture Lab at the same University and is co-founder of The Living, a firm dedicated to the design of Architecture that is both responsive and interactive to the environment. He is also part of the Faculty of ONE Lab Desing + Science in New York City.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The following two tabs change content below.

Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.