Mycelium-based composites (MBC) are biomaterials presenting renewable and bio-degradable alternatives for a wide range of design and manufacturing processes, including the building industry. MBC result from the incomplete growth of mycelium, fibrous root systems of fungi. They can turn urban and agricultural waste into high-end products. Existing research shows that MBC can reduce fossil fuels’ reliance and embodied energy and decrease building waste. Architects recently designed and built a wide range of experimental projects with MBC. In parallel, there is a growing body of work on MBC by scholars from different disciplines, such as mycology, material science, and mechanical engineering, focusing on assessing and enhancing the material properties of MBC for various applications.
In this paper, we first provide essential knowledge on the cultivation of MBC for architectural applications. Next, we analyze some of the prominent architectural prototypes with MBC to exemplify the architectural potentials of MBC and uncover the constraints and affordances of this biomaterial when used in an architectural context. Finally, we review and synthesize the existing literature on MBC from different disciplines providing a guide for architects to cultivate and enhance the material properties of MBC for architectural goals.