Imagine constructing eco domes using locally-sourced materials that actually grow into the panels using molds. This approach combines sustainable architecture with the potential of mycelium, the underground network of thread-like structures produced by fungi, to create biodegradable structures that blend with their surroundings.
Design and Functionality
Determine the purpose of the dome (e.g., greenhouse, art installation, living space) and design it accordingly to meet its intended function.
We could build a dome from many different materials. While mycelium has advantages, it also has disadvantages. So trying to compete with materials like plastic foam and wood seems a lost cause unless the obvious disadvantages can be turned into advantages.
Durability and Longevity – Mycelium panels will not last hundreds of years. When in contact with nature’s forces, like rain, wind, and moisture the panels will probably deteriorate within a few seasons, at most a few years.
So it might be worth looking for applications that are only needed for one year or even less. For example, festival installations only need to stay up for a couple of days. But such a short lifetime does not justify the time of growing. It takes about 6 to 10 days before the panels are fully occulated and dry.
So for eco-tourism, it might be a better fit. Here are several reasons why eco-tourism and mycelium dome hotels are a good fit:
Domes for eco-tourism
- Environmental Sustainability: Mycelium-based domes are made from biodegradable and renewable materials, aligning with the principles of eco-tourism. These structures have a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional construction materials, making them an eco-friendly choice.
- Unique and Memorable Experience: Staying in a mycelium dome hotel is a unique and memorable experience for eco-conscious travelers. It offers a distinctive and immersive connection with nature, promoting eco-tourism’s emphasis on authentic and environmentally responsible adventures.
- Integration with Natural Surroundings: Domes made from mycelium can blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings, allowing guests to enjoy the beauty of the environment without disrupting it. This integration enhances the eco-tourism experience and provides a sense of harmony with nature.
- Educational Opportunities: Mycelium-based construction can serve as an educational opportunity for guests. Hotels can offer workshops or guided tours to educate visitors about mycology, sustainability, and the benefits of using fungi in construction.
- Minimal Environmental Impact: Mycelium domes have a minimal impact on local ecosystems during construction and decompose naturally when no longer in use, minimizing the long-term environmental footprint of the hotel.
- Energy Efficiency: Domes are known for their energy efficiency, as their spherical shape reduces heat loss and maximizes natural light penetration. This design feature aligns with eco-tourism’s emphasis on energy conservation.
- Local Sourcing: Mycelium construction encourages the use of locally sourced materials, supporting local economies and reducing transportation-related emissions. It also showcases the importance of sustainable sourcing to guests.
- Connection to Wellness: Many eco-tourists seek relaxation, well-being, and a break from urban stress. Staying in a mycelium dome immersed in nature can provide a tranquil and rejuvenating experience, aligning with wellness-oriented travel trends.
- Attracting Eco-Conscious Travelers: Eco-tourism is a growing sector, and eco-conscious travelers actively seek accommodations that prioritize sustainability. A mycelium dome hotel can attract this environmentally aware demographic.
- Innovation and Publicity: Embracing mycelium construction showcases innovation in sustainable architecture. Such innovation can generate positive media attention and help establish the hotel as a leader in eco-friendly hospitality.
For sleeping and living experiences these domes might be a great fit, however for cooking (moisture, heat) and showering (water, moisture, heat) the panels’ quality could be affected.
Other options like public areas might be a good fit, however, the structural integrity is not well known and might be a risk if people use it unappropriate
Domes come in many forms. When choosing the structure we need to consider the following:
- Smaller panels result in a more rounded shape, however, it requires more labor to put them together.
- Having many different shapes requires many different molds and makes the construction of the dome more complex.
- Using only hexagons and pentagons requires big panels to get the desired height.
Above are a few examples of domes with repetitive shapes.
When I built the first scale model, I started with the dome on the right. It’s the same way a football is made, consisting of only pentagons and hexagons. Every pentagon is surrounded by 5 hexagons. While it only requires 2 shapes, there are 2 downsides:
- The panels need to be large to make a dome that is tall enough
- There is a challenge to connect the panels with built-in plugs and holes.
Option 4 seems to be a very interesting structure to explore, it consists of triangles hexagons, and pentagons. There are 3 hexagons between every pentagon. The overall shape of the domes seems to be more round and it looks easier to construct, every side of the hexagon and pentagon needs to be connected with a triangle.
Alternatively, I would like to explore option 3. Where we only have one shape. This would definitely make the production easier.
I’m aiming to make a hotel/Airbnb experience, in the category of tents, yurts or A-frame cabins. Since we have so many rounded walls, it would be challenging to integrate a kitchen and a bathroom. We could fit in a small shower and a toilet. And maybe a very basic kitchen. The bed could be elevated to create a unique experience, you would have a view of the night sky.