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Situated in the field of architectural biodesign, InterspeciesForms explores a closer relationship between the fungus Pleurotus ostreatus and the designer in the creation of form. The intention of hybridizing mycelia’s agency of growth with architectural design aesthetic, is to generate novel, non- indexical crossbred designed outcomes. The purpose of this research to advance architecture’s existing relationship with the biological and evolve preconceived notions of form. In order to establish a direct dialogue between architectural and mycelia agencies, robotic feedback systems are implemented to extract data from the physical realm and feed it into the digital. Initiating this cyclic feedback system, mycelia growth is scanned in order to computationally visualize its entangled network and agency of growth. Utilizing mycelia’s physical data as impute, the architect then embeds design intention into this process through customized algorithms based on the logic of stigmergy. In order to bring this cross-bred computational outcome back into the physical realm, form is 3D printed with a customized mixture of mycelium and agricultural waste. Once the geometry has been extruded, the robot patiently waits for the mycelia to grow and react to the organic 3D- printed compound. The architect then responds with a countermove, by scanning this new growth and continuing the cyclic feedback system between nature-machine and the architect. This procedure demonstrates form emerging in real time accord- ing to the co-creational design process and dynamic dialogue between architectural and mycelia agencies. Keywords Mycelium, Robotic feedback, Hybridization, Computational design formation of an intricate web. Darwin illustrated that 1 Introduction root tips act like a brain as they link perception and Mycelium are threadlike fibrous root systems made action, and determine the trajectory of growth (Darwin, up of hyphae, that form the vegetative part of a fungus 1859). Sheldrake (2021) links this behaviour to fungal (Lim, 2022). Known as the hackers of the wood wide web hyphae, as data is streamed through the organism’s tips, (Simard et al. 1997) mycelia forms complex symbiotic determining the speed and direction of growth. The Latin relationships with other species that inhabit our earth, root of the word intelligence means “to choose between” as Michael Lim states “Fungi redefine resourcefulness, (Sheldrake, 2021, p. 73), suggesting a form of intelligence collaboration, resilience and symbiosis” (Lim and Shu, expressed through the mycelia’s ‘decision gates’. Due the 2022, p. 14). When wondering around the forest to con- organisms ability to determine the most effective direc - nect with other species or searching for food, fungi form tion of growth, communicate with its surrounding eco- elaborate and entangled networks by spreading their system and connect with other species, fungi are indeed hyphal tips. This living labyrinth results in the aesthetic an intelligent species with a unique aesthetic, that must not be ignored. In drawing on these concepts, I refer to *Correspondence: the organism’s ability to search for, tangle and digest its Natalie Alima surroundings as ‘mycelia agency of growth’. It is this spe- email@example.com School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, Melbourne, cific behavioural characteristic that is the focus of this Australia © The Author(s) 2023. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http:// creat iveco mmons. org/ licen ses/ by/4. 0/. Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 2 of 14 research, with which I as the architect set out to co-cre- is grown on agricultural waste and robotically extruded, ate and hybridize with. illuminating the need for a digitally fabricated mould. In a similar process to MycoTree and Hy-Fi Tower, once 2 Mycelium and architecture the living organism has been 3D printed, extreme heat is Over the years, a vast amount of interest and research applied in order to ensure that the organism is no longer has developed, testing fungi’s compressive strength, able to grow, adapt, or respond past its required geomet- acoustic absorption, fire safety properties and applica - ric shape. tion to architecture. Due to the organisms ability to up- InterspeciesForms posits that by making nature inert cycle materials and biodegrade them, fungal mycelium or converting it into static materials, ‘appropriate’ for the is often considered a sustainable alternative to synthetic building industry, a crucial, biological- driven design pro- materials (Jones et al. 2018). Mycelium-derived mate- cess is being ignored. By converting mycelium into static rials have several key advantages over traditional syn- non responsive materials, this research posits that fungi’s thetic materials, including their: low cost, density, and agency and true contribution to architecture has yet to energy consumption; their ability to biodegrade; and be explored. This suggest that designing predictable and their overall low environmental impact and carbon foot- replicable forms, that are reflective of an architect’s aes - print (Haneef et al. 2017). David Benjamin for exam- thetics, are impossible to achieve without compromising ple has successfully converted mycelium into known the inherent flourishing needs of the fungus. Conse- architectural applications such as bricks. Displayed in quently, this establishes a predominantly instrumental the courtyard of MoMA’s PS1 space in New York Hy-Fi relationship with nature, where nature was conceived as Tower (2014), Benjamin demonstrates the fabrication of the supplier of materials and context, but rarely invited organic, biodegradable bricks made of farm waste and to actively participate in the design, and even far less so a culture of fungus that was grown to fit a brick-shaped to have agency and autonomy in the creation of forms. mold. In a similar approach, Phillipe Block’s MycoTree This existing process of infusing biological materials into installation (2017) is made of load-bearing mycelium static, predetermined forms must be inverted as a crucial, components that replaces know architectural applica- material-driven design process is missing. Rather than tions such as columns. Comprised of mycelium-infused ignoring natures agency, this research seeks to examine waste that is ordinarily weak in tension, Block’s research the potential contributions of the fungus’s aesthetics to team managed to hack into the mycelia’s structural capa- architectural design. From this perspective, the myce- bilities through form (Heisel et al. 2017). Advancing this lia’s properties of growth are essential for the creation of fabrication method further, Pulp Faction by Ana Goidea, novel forms and advancing the field of biodesign. Inter - David Andreen and Dimitrios Floudas, demonstrates the speciesForms therefore explores the possibilities of fungi robotic extrusion of mycelium infused with agricultural that transcend its application of a sustainable material. waste. This innovative research utilizes local organic waste in order to replace the existing petroleum based 3 Hybridization plastics that are commonly used for 3D printing such In adopting a bio egalitarian view related to co-designing as Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG). To convert with the more-than-human world, this research put for- the living organism into a material that is suitable for the ward the following aims: to contribute to developing our architectural field, the following process occurred within understanding regarding architect–non-human organ- all three precedent projects listed above: ism relationships and their affordances to architectural The mycelium medium was initially grown on agri - design, and to develop new methodologies that facilitate cultural waste which provided nutrients for the organ- the agency of the non-human organisms, while contrib- ism to flourish. In the case of Phillipe Block’s MycoTree uting to design innovation. The findings of this research and David Benjamin’s Hy-Fi Tower, the mixture was then (described below) provide the empirical grounding for infused into predetermined digitally fabricated moulds reconceptualising and redefining the notion of hybridiza - in order for the organism to adopt the generated form. tion within architectural design. By embracing nature’s Following the growth period, the composite mixture is intelligence and behavioural characteristics, new biologi- removed from the mould and either hot-pressed or oven cally driven design processes may emerge. The impor - dried which dehydrates the material and neutralizes the tance of generating hybridisation between architectural fungus (Jones et al. 2020). By applying extreme heat to design intention and biological agency enables a dynamic the fungus, this process converts the once living organ- ism into a pre-formulated static building material by ensuring that it does not grow past the required shape The term flourishing is utilized throughout this research appear when refer - (Holt et al. 2012). In the case of ‘Pulp Faction’ mycelia ring to the uninhibited growth of mycelium. A lima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 3 of 14 Fig. 1 Mycelium growing inside a series of Petri dishes. Demonstrating qualities of rhizomorph entangled patterns of growth, mycelia spreads its hyphae tips in order to explore its surroundings shift from predicable outcomes, into highly volatile and co-creational approach to design that acknowledges mul- dynamic form finding mythologies. tiple autonomies of the architect and the non-human u Th s far, architects have tended to define hybridization designers. The following technical workflow describes a through a human centric perspective, where nature often feedback system developed between the architect’ aes- has minimal agency or autonomy within the generation thetic and fungi’s agency of growth. The objective of this of form. Specifically within the field of biodesign, often developed dialogue is to characterise the attributes of the mere presence of non-human organisms in the out- the fungi as a designer and identify their affordances to come of form is considered hybridization. This narrow architectural design and develop methodologies for cre- perception suggests that the mixing of living and non- ating non-indexical formations, capable of hybridising living materials qualifies the material to be considered a the aesthetics and scale of the fungus with the architect’s hybrid, regardless of any considerations to the qualitative design intentions. This developed dialogue and feedback properties of the emerging design (Alima, 2022). In this systems between the human and biological agency is sense, natures potential contribution to the aesthetic of described in what follows. the form is limited and bounded by the architect’s imagi- nation. Based on the empirical findings of this research, InterspeciesForms posits the following definition for true 4 Mycelium agency hybridization: Methodologically, this project involved the follow- ing stages: (i) preparing and applying the mycelium for Hybridisation in forms co-created by human and growth on petri dishes; (ii) scanning the form; (iii) 3D non-human organisms must meet the criterion of printing the derived form using mycelium extraction, clay presenting a non-indexical formation in relation to and agricultural waste; and (iv) incubating the forms and essential properties of the form, such as aesthetics (vi) continuing the cyclic feedback systems of scanning and scale (Alima, 2022). mycelia data and extruding so that form is generated in The potentials of this ‘partnership’ with non-human real time. These processes involved the introduction of organism’s, is to not only expand the imagination of the a scanning technology, developed computational algo- designer, but to generate novel forms which otherwise rithms, as well as developing a new mycelium based mix- would not have been generated if designing individu- ture for 3D printing the forms. In order to work with the ally. Michael Lim further explains this notion that organ- organism intricate patterns of growth on a micro-scale, ism’s should not be understood in isolation when stating mycelium was initially grown on a series of petri dishes “Fungi teach us that we are all interdependent. When we containing agar. Demonstrated in Fig. 1, this medium finally surrender our separateness, we realize that we are of growth was selected due to its capability to support not outside of nature, but with it” (Lim and Shu, 2022, a micro-scale growth pattern known as rhizomorph. To p. 15). Scientific research has revealed that fungi often cultivate rhizomorph growth, mycelium was grown and partner and form symbiotic relationships with other spe- sliced into 3 mm x 3 mm pieces. In a sterile environment, cies inhabiting our planet. This is evident in the organ - one slice of spawn was transplanted into a petri dish con- ism’s symbiotic partnership with algae that results in the taining an agar medium. During the mycelium’s growth, creation of lichen. This scientific evidence lead the fol - the petri dishes where stored in a dark, temperature con- lowing research question: can architects and mycelium trolled, and humid room to encourage cultivation. hybridize in the same way? This requires establishing a Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 4 of 14 Fig. 2 Petri dishes containing mycelia growth (right) and the generated computational scan (left). Image of mycelium growth sourced from unknown online source In order to convert these intricate patterns of growth separate and form new connections, resulting in root from the physical to the digital realm, a digital micro- clusters of entanglement, attracting itself- to itself. scopic web camera with 1080P resolution was utilized in order to track and computationally map the myceli- 5 Architectural design agency um’s dense fibrous network at the micro scale. Through In order to hybridise architectural design intention with a developed algorithm based on the logic of edge detec- the organism’s agency, an additional algorithm based tion, computational agents traced over mycelia’s pat- on the logic stigmergic principals was implemented terns of growth, converting the once static image into in order to intertwine the volatile nature of mycelium a complex labyrinths of polylines. This computational with restrained computational algorithms. The aim of logic of boundary edge detection was deployed in this process was to form a shared inter-species space to order to trace around the organisms intricate patterns which, each creator may contribute, according to their of growth, populating both the inner and outer parts unique affordances. To do so, stigmergic principals were of the polylines. This simultaneously generates new deployed in order to generate self-organizing systems. pathways from the organisms data and ensured that the Stemming from the Greek words stigma, meaning ‘sting,’ fungi’s microscopic detail was not diluted when trans- and ergon, meaning ‘work, stig ’ mergy describes a form of ferring the physical data into the digital realm. Each indirect communication in a system of swarm intelligence. living hyphae strand was therefore captured and repre- The insect world provides fascinating examples for stig - sented accurately. Using an additional process of color mergy. For example, the trail that ants create leading from detection, the algorithm was programmed to eliminate their nest to a food source is produced through stigmergy unnecessary background interference. This occurred (Sumpter & Beekman, 2003). Stigmergy is based on the prin- by filtering out forms that did not represent the myce - ciple of traces left in the environment by an individual action, lium’s distinct white flourishing color. This procedure stimulate the performance of a succeeding action by the enabled the mycelium’s intricate physical data to be same or different agent (Grass´e, 1959), an external creative accurately represented in the digital realm. As a result, ‘design brain’ may be formed, embracing the inputs of the co- a series of delicate computational drawings were gener- creators. This ‘trail’ is strengthened or weakened through a ated, representing the organisms agency and autonomy feedback system—when more ants enter the trail, the phero- of uninhibited growth (demonstrated in Fig. 2). Here mone signalling strengthens. However, when the food source computational form, accurately captures characteris- depletes and ants leave the trail, the pheromone evaporates tics of mycelia’s rhizomorph growth such as: branch- and the trail dissipates (Meyboom & Reeves, 2013). It is the ing, fusing, entanglement, bifurcation and webbing, all balance between positive and negative feedback that keeps a which are visible at the micro-scale. Particularly notice- system in a dynamic equilibrium, from which self-organised, able are the interweaving hyphae tips as they bifurcate, complex order emerges (Snooks, 2014.) A lima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 5 of 14 Fig. 3 shows the computational agents tracing around the mycelium original polylines (white) and generating entangled systems according to the rules set by the designers within the computational algorithm (blue) Since its discovery in entomology, stigmergy has become indirectly communicate with others; and, condition—the widely applied in other fields, particularly computational events that trigger or allow certain actions to be executed science. An ‘external brain’ of a self-organising system is (Navlakha, 2011). formed by employing stigmergic algorithms for managing These encoded rules and restraints not only embed my large data sets and coordinating networks of information design aesthetic but add a sense of organized complex- trafficking. Similar to ants creating a trail by leaving traces ity to the patterns originated from the fungus. Architec- of pheromones across their path, in the digital realm, these tural intention is therefore imbedded into this process by characteristics of trailing are enabled through computa- orchestrating the local interactions and micro decisions tional agents. Within the field of computational architecture, of computational agents. To do so, the developed algo- many designers have utilised the principals of stigmergy rithm was programed to include the following behav- to generate intricate fibrous geometries. Snooks (2014) for ioral protocols: cohesion, separation, flow along curve, example, utilizes stigmergic principals in the generation of seek trail and evaporation of trail. Through the behavior form as it “provides a method of incorporating architectural of cohesion, the computational agents were instructed geometry in the generative process” (p. 191). to move closely together, generating multiple pathways The present research draws upon these ideas and along the organism original polylines. The Separation extends them beyond the computational realm by explor- and behavior caused the caused the agents to remain ing interspecies stigmergic processes in co-creating of at a certain distance from the mycelium’s curves, whilst hybridised designs. Similar to mycelia growth, here too the Flow along curve behavior instructed the agents to an ‘external brain’ of a self-organizing system is formed simultaneously trace over the organism original bounda- by employing stigmergic algorithms for managing large ries whilst generating new labyrinth pathways. Seek trail, data sets and coordinating networks of information traf- determined the magnitude in which the computational ficking. Through self-organizing algorithms that are agents were attracted to the organisms pathways; and attracted to predetermined paths, stigmergy is utilized Evaporation of trail, ensured that the pathways generated in novel ways that enable architectural design intent by the agents would evaporate over time. This ensured to follow the predetermined paths set by the fungus. In that the aesthetic output of this process remained legible, analogy to the ant trail, here too the mycelium’s ‘phero- rather than resulting in intersecting and obscure lines. mones’ lead the architect along their trails and the archi- These behaviors, expose the architectural design inten - tect responds to these trails through a series of developed tion and determine how computational agents would rules and restraints. Demonstrated in Fig. 3, the pre- react to the fungus’s original pathways. Showcased in determined paths set by the fungus, guide the direction, Fig. 3 simultaneously, there are two contrasting behav- action and response of the computational agents. This iors occurring within this processes. The first being stig - reconceptualizes the notion of architectural intentions, as mergic behavior were the trails respond to other trails. not pre-fixed, but as continuously evolving in response to The second is the computational agent responding the changes in stimuli left in the environment by the fungus. mycelia’s pheromones and trails. Utilizing mycelium’s Computational stigmergy consists of four main com- polylines as the blue print, a stigmergy algorithm was ponents: Medium—the method or environment in which generated in order to seed architectural design intention the agents communicate with each other; action—rules into hybridized patterns of formation. Through stigmer - that direct an agent to interact with the environment or gic computational processes it became possible to embed other agents; Trace—a signal left behind by an agent to architectural design intention into forms extracted Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 6 of 14 Fig. 4 From left to right, image showcasing the organisms original scan, second image showcasing a computational process of color detection, illuminating any unnecessary background noise, third image exposing stigmergic agents trancing around mycelia’s polylines and the final image(right) exposing the hybridized result of the feedback process from nature through self-organizing algorithms that are agents populate the both the inner and outer boundary attracted to predetermined paths. The design intention, edges of the mycelium original polylines. This additional was to add further complexity to the mycelia’s original process adds a sense of designed complexity to the myce- scans in order to generate complex labyrinth systems. lium’s web, by generating entangled connections between The computational agents were therefore programmed to the hyphae tip. Figure 4 exposes this gradual evolution generate new intricate pathways, based on the direction from the mycelia’s original scan to the stigmergic infu- and density of the mycelium’s traces. In order to seed my sions and finally the hybridized result. The sequential design intentions within the algorithm, computational steps of growing the organism within the petri dish, the behaviors were modified in the following pseudo-code: computational scan and applying the stigmergic algo- rithm which is seeded with architectural design intention is demonstrated in Fig. 5. In order to determine at which stage of this algorithmic process achieves true hybridity, a timeline was generated, illustrating the gradual entanglement of architectural aesthetic and mycelia agency over time. Demonstrated in Fig. 6, this timeline exposes the formal outcomes, initiat- ing from the moment in which the two agencies first meet to the moment in which the agencies have been engaging with one another over an extended period of time. When the two agencies initially meet, the first iteration of form displays qualities which strongly resemble the mycelium’s original polylines. Although the form is slightly more detailed, true hybridization and novel qualities have yet to emerge. It seems that only when both agencies have intertwined with one another over an extended period of time, fascinating results begin to emerge. These formal qualities and results (demonstrated towards the end of the timeline in Fig. 7) do not resemble the architect’s or fungi’s agency but have rather, generated something new. As a result, form resists authorship as it is non-indexical back to either the architect or the fungus’s agency, gener- ating a new self-organized complex order. For the purposes of form finding, the goal of this pro - cess was to draw out the hybrid emergent characteristics between the natural and artificial realms. The results of this hybridization between mycelia and architectural agencies represent novel outcomes, which are non- indexical back to either mycelia’s scan or computational agency. Whilst mycelia’s original polylines have there- Responding to the organisms agency, computational fore been morphed, mutated and manipulated into an agents follow along the designated mycelia trails and unrecognizable results, the organisms original features simultaneously generate intricate entangled fibrous net - of fibrosity, delicacy and complexity still remain. Demon - works between each hyphae tip. Here, computational strated in Fig. 7, a delicate balance of agency and design A lima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 7 of 14 Fig. 5 From left to right, Petri dishes containing mycelia growth, computational scan and mycelia drawings and hybridized stigmergic outcome. Computational drawings assisted by Hanying Zhao and Christine O’neill authority is achieved as characteristic of mycelia growth to. With the outbreak of COVID-19, these robotic and stigmergic processes are still present, but have mor- tests came to an abrupt stop, as the university was shut phed into novel interspecies results. down. In the absence of access to an industrial univer- sal robot, I shifted to using Virtual Reality (VR). The 6 Robotic agency HoloLens is an opti cal, head-mounted display (HMD) In order to bring these hybridized output forms back that composites virtual content with the user’s field of into the physical environment and continue this cyclic view by rendering to a transparent stereoscopic wave- feedback system between the natural and the artificial, guide display (Jahn, 2019). This application allowed me InterspeciesForms where robotically extruded with the to visualise the mycelium’s computational digital form mycelium medium itself. In comparison to existing pro- in the physical environment. Whilst these geometries jects that 3D print mycelium, mycelia was kept alive in were once robotically extruded, an electric corking gun order to enable its patterns of growth to thrive and con- was utilised to trace over the holographic forms, manu- tribute to the create of form and robotic movement. ally extruding the customised mixture of mycelium, Demonstrated in Fig. 8, a feedback system and direct dia- clay and agricultural waste. By transferring the robotic logue is developed between biological, architectural and workflow from the robotic into the realm of augmented robotic agencies as mycelia growth becomes impute into reality, a sense of handcraft-based production began computational form and robotic movement. This techni - to arise, blurring the analogue and digital approaches cal process is described in what follows: for making forms. Once the biological medium was A customized mixture of mycelium, clay and agricul- extruded and incubated, the mycelium’s growth began tural waste was created in order to robotically fabricate to flourish over a seven-day period, thus continuing this the biological medium and encourage growth. This cyclic process of scanning and extruding. Although the mixture consisted of agricultural waste, which provided extrusions lacked the precision that the robotic could nutrients of the organism to thrive and clay which achieve, this temporary feedback system provided acted as a natural binder for the living fibbers to adhere key findings, regarding: (i) the ideal mixture of clay, Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 8 of 14 Fig. 6 Timeline exposing the gradual entanglement of mycelia’s and architectural agencies. This is initiated from the mycelia’s original scan (on the far left) and hybridized result (on the far right) A lima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 9 of 14 B. Living filament. Once the mycelium flourished in growth, over a seven-day period, it was introduced to the clay medium. Earthenware clay was utilized due to its porous aerated structure, which enabled the mycelia to seep through and eventually degrade the substrate. Both the clay and mycelium bio composite mixture were fused together, generating a living paste to robotically extrude. C. Fabrication. Utilizing a customized clay extruder on a Universal Robot (UR), the mycelium mixture was 3D printed according to the following protocol: (i) Noz- zle Height: 23.1 mm from Surface; (ii) Nozzle Width: 5 mm; (iii) Print Speed: 10 mm/s; (iv) Flow Rate: 58%; (v) Layer Height:; 1.5 mm; and (vi) Air Pressure: 50 PSI. Images of the clay-mycelium medium being robotically extruded and growing are shown in Fig. 9. 7 Interspecies forms Once the organism was 3D printed, the organism began to grow from the living extrusions by extending its hyphae tips away from its designated path that the robot extruded (shown in Fig. 10). This behaviour not only exposed the organism agency but asserted its autonomy, that the living cannot be completely controlled. Fig. 7 Interspecies Hybridized outcomes of the entanglement During this period, three types of growth behaviour between mycelia’s and architectural agencies were observed. The first was noted by change of tex - ture and color. Whilst initially the designed form had a smooth grey exterior – resembling the appearance of clay, over time the extrusions turned hairy, fluffy and mycelium, waste ratio; and (ii) the observation of myce- furry, resembling the texture of hyphae, imbedded in the lium’s reaction once extruded. Once access to robotic extrusion. Shown in Fig. 11, a second noted change was facilities resumed, the research experiments involving that the form began to fruit. Long cylindrical mushrooms robotic intervention could continue. In comparison began to blossom and tower over the tapestry. Finally, to the extrusions conducted by hand, a higher level of it was observed that over the course of seven days, the precision was achieved, exposing the design tectonics mycelium increasingly biodegraded the clay mixture sub- that were generated from this process of robotic cyclitic strate. When doing so, it began wondering around its feedback systems. surrounding in search for additional nutrients to absorb. Each hybridized form was 3D printed at the scale of This was fascinating to observe, as the fungus was no 300 mm x 400 mm. The size of the forms could not iden - longer constrained by the extruded form from which it tically match the original size of the petri dish derived originated, but rather began to affirm its own agency of forms (200 mm diameter), due to limitations set by the growth. A distinct set of generative patterns of growth nozzle size and the need to prevent clogging. The follow - and characteristics such as branching and fusing began to ing steps were taken to test the points mentioned in the emerge. This volatile behaviour resulted in vein like for - creation of the form: mations, not set by the architect. Here the fungus clearly asserted its autonomy over the design. A. Inoculation. Mycelium was firstly inoculated and Once the organism began to divert and grow beyond grown on a mixture of wood chips and paper pulp. its set boundaries, an additional scan was conducted in Over a seven day period this mixture was incubated order to repeat the cyclitic feedback prosses of grow- with controlled temperature (24–30 °C) and humid- ing- scanning and extruding. Resulting from this feed- ity (90%), under a greenhouse tent. This chamber was back systems, a catalogue of forms shown in Fig. 12 kept sterile to prevent bacteria growth, while ena- were generated exposing emergent qualities of this bling sufficient natural light to pass through. Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 10 of 14 Fig. 8 The developed cyclic feedback system between mycelia growth, robotic intervention and computational form. Initiating this feedback system is the growth of mycelia within a series of petri dishes and agar cultures. The organism’s physical patterns of growth are scanned and become inputs for computational form. Stigmergic algorithms are then applied to the mycelia’s polylines, generating hybridized non indexical results. These outcomes are then 3D printed with the biological medium itself. Over time, the robot waits for the organism to grow and responds to fungi growth by initiating the feedback system of scanning and extruding once again Fig. 9 Image showcases the mixture of agricultural waste including mycelium, coffee grinds, paper pulp and hemps seeds being extruded from the Universal-10 robot A lima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 11 of 14 hybridized form has been printed and grown, the devel- oped feedback systems continues as form mutates and evolves over time. 8 Results Through this developed feedback system the formation of architecture is directly driven by mycelium behaviour, rather than an a priori parametric model or generative algorithm. Methodologically, the contributions of Inter- speciesForms include the scanning mycelia growth in order to computationally visualize its patterns of growth, utilizing mycelia growth as impute to developed algo- rithms based on stigmergic behaviours, generating hybridized outcomes from the co-creation of architec- tural and mycelia agencies, and developing behavioural based feedback systems. The findings of this research conclude that by applying stigmergy into biodesign, new opportunities for co-creation and a hybridized novel design language may arise. By embracing non-human aesthetics within architectural design, multi-species and biocentric forms may arise. Furthermore, it appears that the allocation of high levels of design autonomy to the fungus, has led to the creation of a new set of forms that embrace the strange and highly volatile nature of the mycelium. No two from outputs in this process were the same, where each fabricated design presented a contrast- ing set of biological patterns of growth. Stigmergy there- fore provided a path for co-designing with a non-human Fig. 10 Image showcases the organism grow from the living extrusions by extending its hyphae tips away from its designated organism by which mycelium may thrive uninterruptedly path that the robot extruded while contributing to the creation of hybridized- Inter- species forms. Fig. 11 Clay infused with mycelia robotic extrusions. Overtime, the mycelium began to grow from the organic mixture and wondered around the surface area in search for additional nutrients developed feedback systems between the natural and The contribution of this research to the field of Archi - artificial realms. Whilst fungi generates the first ‘move’ tecture is providing a new definition to the concept be exposing its flourishing, inhibited patterns of growth, ‘hybridization’ within design. Methodologically, the the architect designs with these patterns of growth research presents new methods for collaboration with by contributing their own design aesthetic. Once this Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 12 of 14 Fig. 12 Exposes a catalogue of forms that began from the mycelium original computational scan (left), the architect infusing his or hers design aesthetic through stigmergic principals and printing the living form. Once the organism begins to flourish and grow beyond its set boundaries, an additional scan is conducted and manipulated through stigmergic based algorithm. This new mutated form is once again 3D printed (right), continuing this cyclic feedback systems between the architect and fungi’s agency of growth organisms, and conceptually it offers a strange and new biologically driven design processes may emerge novel set of formal tectonics to arise, contributing to by architects embracing nature’s intelligence and architectural design discipline. Furthermore, the find - behavioural characteristics. The importance of gener - ings provide the empirical grounding for reconcep- ating true hybridisation between architectural design tualising and redefining the notion of hybridisation in intention and biological agencies enables a dynamic architectural design. The study further suggests that shift from stable into highly volatile form finding A lima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 13 of 14 fabrication of mycelium infused with clay. More of her work is showcased on methodologies. In order for novel, interspecies formal Instagram: @BioLab_Studio. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org. outcomes to emerge, the architect is required to recon- ceptualise design autonomy and control in the genera- Funding No funding has been received to conduct this research. tion of form. Resisting sole authorship, these highly volatile systems, which I refer to as hybridised forma- Availability of data and materials tions generate novel relationships and feedbacks, rather Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study. than controlled or predictable outcomes. Potent with architectural possibilities, InterspeciesForms therefore Declarations embraces the highly volatile and seeks the unknown, in order to generate a new interspecies architectural lan- Ethics approval and consent to participate guage between human and non-human entities. The Not applicable. purpose of this research is ultimately to be utilized as Consent for publication a template for other designer to expand their imagina- Not applicable. tions and evolve preconceived notions of architectural Competing interests form. ‘InterspeciesForms’ therefore explores the pos- The author has no competing interests to declare that are relevant to the sibilities of organisms that transcend its application content of this article. of a ‘sustainable’ building material within the field of architecture and advancing the field of bio design. This Received: 22 September 2022 Accepted: 8 March 2023 research therefore demonstrates a novel- hybrid design language, that embraces the aesthetics of non-human organisms, giving rise to non-indexical forms for archi- tectural design purposes. This research demonstrates References novel design methods for co-creating with non-human Alima, Natalie. (2022). Interspecies Forms. https:// rmit. esplo ro. exlib risgr oup. com/ esplo ro/ outpu ts/ docto ral/ Inter speci es- forma tions/ 99221 52713 organisms that may give rise to new non-indexical for- 401341? insti tution= 61RMIT_ INST mations for architectural design purposes. Through Darwin, C. (1859). On the origin of species: Natural selection and evolution in this developed feedback system the formation of biology. John Murray. Grass é, Pier Paul. (1959). The automatic regulations of collective behav- architecture is directly driven by mycelium behaviour, ior of social insect and stigmergy. Journal de psychologie normale et rather than an a priori parametric model or generative pathologique (Paris), 57, 1–10. algorithm. Haneef, M., Ceseracciu, L., Canale, C., Bayer, I. S., Heredia-Guerrero, J. A., & Athanassiou, A. (2017). Advanced Materials From Fungal Mycelium: Fabri- Reflecting upon the limitations of this research, the cation and Tuning of Physical Properties. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 41292. hybridized results remained on the two-dimensional scale Heisel, F., Lee, J., Schlesier, K., Rippmann, M., Saeidi, N., Javadian, A., Nugroho, and did not eventuate into three-dimensional forms. Due A. R., Mele, T. V., Block, P., & Hebel, D. E. (2017). Design, Cultivation and Application of Load-Bearing Mycelium Components The MycoTree at the to a lack of access to high resolution vision systems that 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. International Journal could capture the organism growth in the 3D realm, the of Sustainable Energy Development, 6(1), 296–303. https:// block. arch. ethz. scanning of mycelia’s was limited to the two-dimensional ch/ brg/ files/ HEISEL_ 2017_ WCST_ design- loadb earing- mycel ium- struc ture_ 15468 91598. pdf. Accessed 12 Nov 2020. scale. Thus the stigmergic response mirrored this scale Holt, G. A., Mcintyre, G., Flagg, D., Bayer, E., Wanjura, J. D., & Pelletier, M. G. and generated two dimensional hybridized outcomes. (2012). Fungal Mycelium and Cotton Plant Materials in the Manufacture In order to advance this established feedback systems of Biodegradable Molded Packaging Material: Evaluation Study of Select Blends of Cotton Byproducts. Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, further, higher resolution vison systems are required to 6(4), 431–439. capture the mycelia’s growth within the petri dish on the Jones, M., Mautner, A., Luenco, S., Bismarck, A., & John, S. (2018). Waste derived three-dimensional scale. Rather than responding in the low cost mycelium composite construction materials with improved fire saftey. Fire and Safety Materials, 43(7), 0308–1050. https:// doi. org/ 10. 1002/ two-dimensional realm, the architect may generate 3D fam. 2637 forms which emerge from the interaction of architectural Jones, M., Mautner, A., Luenco, S., Bismarck, A., & John, S. (2020). Engineered aesthetic and the behavior of mycelia growth. mycelium composite construction materials from fungal biorefineries: A critical review. Materials & Design, 187, 108397. Lim, M., & Shu, Y. (2022). The Future is Fungi : How Fungi Can Feed Us, Heal Us, Free Us and Save Our World. Thames & Hudson Australia. Authors’ contributions Meyboom, Annalisa, & Reeves, David. (2013). Stigmergic Space. Conference The author(s) read and approved the final manuscript. paper, ACADIA, Adaptive Architecture, Cambridge, Canada (pp. 199–206) https:// www. resea rchga te. net/ publi cation/ 31411 4769_ Stigm ergic_ Authors’ information Space. Natalie Alima recently completed her PhD specializing in the relationship Navlakha, S., & Bar-Joseph, Z. (2011). Algorithms in nature: The convergence of between mycelium, 3D printing and computational form. She runs a series systems biology and computational thinking. Molecular Systems Biology, of design studios for the Masters of Architecture Program at RMIT, about the 7(1), 546. fusion of biological, living materials with architectural applications. Natalie Sheldrake, M. (2021). ENTANGLED LIFE : How fungi make our worlds, change our founded BioLab Studio in 2017 where she showcases her work of real-time minds & shape our futures. Random House. robotics, 3D printed sculptures, computational drawings and the robotic Alima Architectural Intelligence (2023) 2:6 Page 14 of 14 Simard, S. W., Perry, D. A., Jones, M. D., Myrold, D. D., Durall, D. M., & Molina, R. (1997). Net transfer of carbon between ectomycorrhizal tree species in the field. Nature, 388(6642), 579–582. Snooks, Roland. (2014). Behavioural Formation: Multi-Agent Algorithmic Design Strategies. https:// resea rchre posit ory. rmit. edu. au/ disco very/ deliv ery/ 61RMIT_ INST: RMITU/ 12248 32032 00013 41. PhD RMIT diss. Sumpter, D. J., & Beekman, M. (2003). From nonlinearity to optimality: Phero- mone trail foraging by ants. Animal Behaviour, 66(2), 273–280. https:// reader. elsev ier. com/ reader/ sd/ pii/ S0003 34720 39222 4X? token= 2A5BB 875FB 85D17 4B5AD 04FAB 004CD D94BF D640D 2D886 316B7 0DFCD 1117D B980F 365D4 8DDC2 799D5 EE54D 208E0 17441 6& origi nRegi on= us- east- 1& origi nCrea tion= 20220 32305 2759. Publisher’s Note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in pub- lished maps and institutional affiliations.
Architectural Intelligence – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 20, 2023
Keywords: Mycelium; Robotic feedback; Hybridization; Computational design
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