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Newcastle University,School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Spring Term.19 | Masters Architectural Technology Studio



Lead by Martyn Dade-Robertson, Thora Arnardottir, Dilan Ozkan

Students: Tori Ellis, Sarah Hollywell, Josh Higginbottom, Sarah Rogers, Jack Ingham, Lydia Mills, Josie Foster

If we see the classical orders, in Vitruvian terms as getting closer to an imitation of nature then what if our capital becomes nature? 

What will become the 4th Order? 


During lab work, Microscopic analysis, Final presentation

Vitruvius, suggested that ‘Architecture is the imitation of nature’. Through biophilia we seek forms in nature which inspire the design of new buildings and through biomimicry we seek a structural understanding of biological systems to inform the engineering of our buildings. What if we could go much further? What happens when we become Architects of nature? 


The studio focuses on exploring, not only, the material properties of mycelium-based materials, but the semiotics of the material. There are, broadly speaking three classical orders in Architecture: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Each order is defined by a scale and characterised by columns and capitals which grow in complexity. The columns are highly abstracted trees with each order becoming more complex in terms of ornamentation moving from symbolic to the iconic presentation.


Architecture students from level 5 and 6 made exploration into building with a living material with an exhibition at the Laing Gallery. Their investigation was carried out in the Bio Design Lab at Newcastle University which allowed the students to interact and conduct experiments in a sterile and contained laboratory environment.


Tasks focused on utilising a living binder through the mycelium, the vegetative part of a mushroom (Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus in this study) in a variety of substrates and to analyse their structure on a microscopic level. The students were asked to design moulds that questioned the semiotics of the material and to enable, through interaction between the hyphae branching and the nutrients, the mycelium to join and form structures. The seminar included several lectures and workshops, hands-on laboratory practice and an exhibition at the end. 

myco class.jpg

Student's final works

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