THE FUNGITORIUM: MUSHROOM AND MYCELIUM INNOVATION CENTRE
by Daniel Atkinson
Responding to the recent shortage of product packaging as a result of the 'Amazon effect', the fall of international food chains and the increased use of single-use plastics during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Fungitorium harnesses the properties of mycelium and mushrooms to promote a self-sufficient and sustainable city. Based within an existing social housing estate, the revival of industry aims to breathe new life into Woolwich, empowering the local community to fight for their neighbourhood against the wave of gentrification taking hold of the riverfront. The Myco-Mortar artefact in project one grew fragments of decayed negative space as a commentary on the process of urban growth and decay in gentrified post-industrial Hackney Wick. Similarly, the Fungitorium inhabits the negative space of the derelict Grade II listed King’s Yard dry docks, reactivating a lost relic of industrial history. The building celebrates the material’s versatility by exposing its many attributes to the public, engaging them in the process of mycelium product manufacturing and the farming of mushrooms. The material’s properties are further revealed in the mycelial roof garden, which utilises mycelium’s ability to sequester carbon emissions from the air and encourage biodiversity as it fruits mushrooms in autumn, biodegrades in the winter and brings new life in spring.