Spirituality and sustainable innovation converge in Côme Di Meglio’s living sanctuary – MycoTemple. Developed in 2021, the domelike structure reminiscent of ancestral habitats is conceived to foster a sensibility to the environment and to welcome collective experiences. This five-meter structure harnesses the power of mycelium to grow temples, sheltering space for both spiritual and physical transformation.
Mycelium is a thread-like vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, interconnected hyphae. It is the part of the fungus that absorbs nutrients from the environment. The organism forms the structure’s primary construction material while a hand-carved wooden structure is hidden within. It becomes visible once the mycelium gradually biodegrades throughout time and returns to the soil. Mycelium has a role of utmost importance in nature. The roots of the mushroom feed on dead material and turn it into fertile soil.
Beyond this architectural appeal, MycoTemple has been realized to foster a wide range of collective experiences such as concerts, gatherings, and quiet moments of contemplation. In order to grow the architectural space, Côme Di Meglio worked with a Japanese mushroom, Reike. The thick walls of the space isolates from outside noise and the inside envelops those inside into unexpected colors and textures.
The immersion into this organism grown into an architecture triggers a state of augmented awareness and a feeling of presence. MycoTemple’s goal is to nurture our bond with the world of the living. The shape of the dome is supposed to evoke ancestral dwellings such as caves that human beings use to shelter from outside dangers. Furthermore, the shape of the dome also evokes sacred architecture throughout the world place where we would gather in circles to play games and tell stories. This in itself sparks imagination and cements the feeling of being part of a community.
The gradual biodegradation of MycoTemple is an important aspect of its aesthetic experience. It invites visitors to return throughout the seasons, allowing them to witness the passage of time and the organic process of decay and renewal. It is a way to remind us that everything is changing constantly and invites us to think about our transient existence.
MycoTemple is a testament to the power of sustainability, innovation, and spirituality that become harmonious together. This concept challenges us to contemplate the permanence of things and reconnect with nature. The construction process of MycoTemple utilized a low-tech approach and repurposed industrial waste. The design team of Côme Di Meglio cultivated mycelium on a large scale to create the architectural-sized dome segments, showcasing the potential of sustainable materials and practices in architecture.