A wetland crafted by studio edwards, made from organic waste and mycelium mushroom that acts as both a cleaner of the waterway and a home for local wildlife, is due to be placed in the Yarra River.

Working to be beneficial for both above and below surface life, the structure is a piece of modern architecture that combines the hyphae of the mushroom and the knowhow of Melbourne designer Ben Edwards.

The floating wetland is made from a series of interlocking triangular shaped modules. These are made from a mixture of mycelium, obtained from mushroom roots and local organic waste. The mycelium when baked in an oven that the structure is placed within gains a foam-like quality, that absorbs excess nutrients and collects waste floating along the river.

The wetland, coated with linseed oil for increased water resistance, reuses waste building products to form a floating island that is shaped like a leaf to capture surface waste.

Above the surface, native wetland plants grow on a floating mycelium & wood waste compound. Over time, plants such as sedge grass and reeds provide habitat for native birds such as coots, moorhens, swamp hens, reed warblers, golden whistlers and yellow thornbills.

Underneath, plant roots extend into the water providing absorption of excess nitrogen and phosphorus. A more lightweight and aesthetically pleasing option compared to the metal traps that frequent the river, the mycelium is able to trap waste due to its rigid.

Shortlisted as an entry for the Victorian Design’s Waste Challenge in 2019, the wetland has been developed by ARUP and Swinburne University in conjunction with studio edwards.

Image: studio edwards