Canadian Consulting Engineer

Tower made of corn stalk bricks going up in Queens

This June a tower constructed of 100% organic material is to be built as a temporary installation beside the Museum of Modern Art's PSI location in Queens, New York.

February 25, 2014   Canadian Consulting Engineer

This June a tower constructed of 100% organic material is to be built as a temporary installation beside the Museum of Modern Art’s PSI location in Queens, New York.

The Living, a studio led by David Benjamin, won a competition for young architects held by MoMA that invited ideas to design an innovative temporary, outdoor installation that provides shade, seating and water.

The new tower, known as “Hy-Fi,” will be completely recyclable. Approximately 40-ft. high and with a 18-ft. diameter, it is a circular structure constructed of organic bricks made of corn stalks and fungal root structures. The bricks are produced by a green technology company called Ecovative.

At the top of the tower will be special reflective bricks that incorporate mirror film made by 3M. These bricks will do double duty, functioning first as the growing trays for the organic bricks. Once installed, their reflections are designed to create “mesmerizing” light effects on the structure’s interior walls..

Opening in June to coincide with a summer music concert series in the PSI’s courtyard, the installation will contrast with New York’s glass skyscrapers and the adjacent brick MoMA PS1.  Providing those who enter with a future oriented experience that is “refreshing, thought-provoking, and full of wonder and optimism,” the tower  will also offer respite from the hot sun, drawing in cool air at the bottom and push it out at the top,

Engineers from Arup were part of Living Studio’s team for the project.


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