From Mushrooms to Mansions: Organic Building Materials

Philip Ross works with a mushroom farm called Far West Fungi. And on it they're growing your future house. Or at least the nontoxic, fireproof, mold- and water-resistant building blocks for it.

There are dozens of mushroom-filled shipping containers on this farm, but what Ross is after are the "fungi's thin, white rootlike fibers" also known as mycelium. He's after these fibers because they make great building blocks:

Mycelium doesn't taste very good, but once it's dried, it has some remarkable properties. It's nontoxic, fireproof and mold- and water-resistant, and it traps more heat than fiberglass insulation. It's also stronger, pound for pound, than concrete.

If you doubt how strong the material is, consider this: Ross "destroyed many a metal file and saw blade" while shaping 500 of these mushroom bricks into a six foot by six foot archway. He hopes to destroy many more tools by one day building entire homes out of mushroom bricks.

And my parents thought I was nuts when I told them I wanted to live in a mushroom just like the Smurfs.[Time via Futurismic]