If this past Saturday’s Warm Up party, the first of the summer at MoMA PS1 in Queens, New York, smelled, according to one reveler, “like soup,” the throng of sweaty, dancing bodies wasn’t to blame. Hi-Fy, a primitive-looking tower, built entirely of pungent bricks made from mashed cornhusks and mushroom spores, had been erected in the museum’s courtyard. The winning entry in PS1’s annual Young Architect Program (YAP) design competition, Hi-Fy is the brainchild of David Benjamin, who is the principal founder of the New York firm The Living, and who takes a cross-disciplinary approach to architecture, mixing biology and computation. Benjamin made his organic, compostable bricks in the traditional adobe process—a mold, muddy paste and sun—putting a new spin on the idea of sustainable architecture: It’s a building made out of materials that grow from the earth, and that can return to it once summer is over.
Hy-Fi is on view through September 7, at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave in Queens, New York.