Grow-It-Yourself Workshop!

Due to the success of their plastics project, Year 10 students were recently treated to a one-off master class with Mae-Ling Lokko – an architectural historian and building-material technologist who is currently Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA.

The collaboration was born out of the project ideas of a Life Sciences UTC year 10 cohort. When working on their original brief for the plastics project (see here for more info) one group suggested obtaining and using mushroom matter as an eco-friendly alternative to the single use plastics that are drastically damaging our sea life and our general environment.)

As an expert in her field, Mae’s work centres on the up cycling of agro-waste and biopolymer materials into ‘high’ performance building material systems.

With tons of experience working specifically with mycelium (mushroom) as a material, the Farm Urban Team were quick to invite Mae to host a workshop to share and impart her wisdom to the group.

Mae explained that when dried, Mycelium can form an incredibly strong material that is not only water-resistant, but also fire and mould-resistant. Mae discussed how the everyday materials we use have a significant impact on our health and the group then set to work on creating organic structures from mushroom matter (mycelium) for an exciting afternoon.

Incredibly, the completed structures will be used as part of Mae’s overall project ‘Hack the Root’ as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2018. The installation is currently being displayed at RIBA North and is free to attend and open to the public. Head over to the Mann Island venue this Summer (from 14th July onwards) to check out the installation along with the accompanying exhibition and workshops!

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the Farm Urban team for leading the session, and of course to the brilliant Mae for joining us and inviting our students to be a part of such an impactful project! You can find out more about Mae’s work: here.


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