Winner of MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program 2014


Committed to offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects, each year MoMA and MoMA PS1 invite emerging architects to present their entries to be installed at MoMA PS1 to provide shelter, seating and water. The latest winning entry of the Young Architects Program (YAP) is from ‘The Living’ (David Benjamin) who gives clear evidence that a zero emissions building is possible.

Made of bio-bricks – that come from the earth and return to the earth – the structure will be of a completely different quality to what we have been accustomed to and will be made of 100% organic, grown material. The combination of biological technologies, cutting edge computational design and engineering has resulted in creating a whole new building potential.

The Living-Hy-Fi, 2014

The structure temporarily diverts the natural carbon cycle to produce a building that grows out of nothing and will create almost no waste, takes up almost no energy and generates zero carbon emissions. This approach offers a new vision for the creation of physical objects and the built environment and offers a new definition of local materials that are in direct relationship to thier origin – New York state; it’s agriculture and innovation culture, New York City artists and non-profit groups, and the Queens community gardens.

Winner of MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program 2014, the The Living, Hy-Fi

The custom-formed bricks also have a reflective element to assist lighting through the structure and the stacking is gravity-defying. Made in collaboration with Ecovative, innovators in the use of mycelium, and 3M, the organic bricks are produced by combining corn husks with specially-developed living root structures. The reflective quality of the bricks is produced by custom-forming a new day lighting mirror film invented by 3M into the brick which are also used as growing trays. These will be shipped back to 3M after their use in the installation for use in further research.

‘The Living’ also invert the logic of load-bearing construction. The organic bricks are arranged at the bottom of the structure with the refective bricks at the top and instead of being thick and dense (at the base) it is the opposite, thin and porous creating a cool micro-climate in the summer by drawing in cool air at the base and pushing heat out at the top.

Despite the disruptive effect of this organic technology on the building process as we currently know it, ‘Hy–Fi’ still maintains a semblance of the surrounding built environment through its earthy and reflective qualities.

The winning entry represents an innovative breakthrough in how we produce objects, and our built environment while meeting the requirements of the competition brief and even cradle-to-cradle criteria.

The video below shows Ecovative’s forming process used to produce the bricks that make up the structure of the pavilion.