Group 01

The boiler house is a center to bring together a community through the hosting of free workshops and low-cost workshop spaces. Workshops include woodworking and mycelium growing as a way of teaching new hands-on skills to the community. Mycelium is the root network of mushrooms and can be used in architecture as an insulator and as a structural material. In the future, the Boiler House strives to fit their building with mycelium insulation, a carbon-negative product. For the past few weeks, they have been growing mycelium insulation for us to design a sitting pod to fill with this locally-grown insulation. This pod will educate the public and funders about the power of mycelium while providing a usable seat to experience the insulative and acoustic dampening effects. The pod will also house research about how mycelium is grown, how it can be used as insulation, and how effective it is. The work we do will help contribute to the research and funding needed to make their unheated hangar space usable in the colder months. Our project aims to provide a product for the Boiler House that showcases their workshop facilities, mycelium growing initiative, and helps get funding to insulate their building. During the two weeks you spend with our team you will get to partake in a physical build and research a new carbon-negative, sustainable material.

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Lauren Lok-Men N / Mary D / Binyang Z / Ugne B / Holly W


The boiler house is a former power station located in Moss Side, Manchester. In the 1990s it functioned as a power station for thousands of homes, and since has been repurposed for a social enterprise, Sow the City. It provides free and low-cost workshop spaces, tools, and equipment. They have hosted a number of workshops that promote the development of skills for employment, health and well-being, circular economy, and promoting gender and race equality. In the past their workshops have ranged from wood ring making, to fabricating new products, to growing new products . The boiler house provides a space for everyone of all ages, backgrounds, and gender to participate in hands-on ways to shape their lives and communities.
Posted 12 Mar 2023 21:53

The skills you will develop through our project are research about sustainable products, construction of wood and insulation through a design build, and graphic design.

Though you may not have some of these listed skills, you will develop them through engagement and passion put into this project.
Posted 12 Mar 2023 21:55

In short, the project is to utilize the workshops that the boiler house offer to design and build a physical pod for people to sit and work in. This pod will provide an opportunity to engage with the public as a way of showcasing the workshops used to build it.

Additionally, the pod will display how mushrooms can be used as insulation. The research collected during the two weeks of the project will help provide the boiler house with future funding to insulate their building with the same material used in the pod.
Posted 12 Mar 2023 21:56
Hi, I'm Binyang

I am from Beijing, China and did my undergrad at the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

I am in the studio: Infrastructure Space. I have previously worked at Architectural design and Research Institute of BUCEA Co.,LTD. Over the years I have developed skills in physical model making, Rhino, AutoCAD, Sketchup, and the Adobe Suite. And beyond architecture I am interested in travel, painting, sports.

Posted 12 Mar 2023 22:01
Hi, I’m Ugne!

I graduated from the University of Westminster in 2021.
I’m currently in Continuity in Architecture Atelier. I love old and unique buildings, and adaptive reuse projects as older buildings often have historical significance and architectural details that cannot be replicated in new construction.

I'm excited to have a chance to work with the new members of our team!
Posted 12 Mar 2023 22:04
Hi, I’m Mary!

I graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2021 and spent a year out working in a primary school with children who were behind due to Covid.

I’m currently in the Some Kind of Nature Atelier, and love considering how designs can bring people closer to nature, be that mediated through the use of natural and renewable materials or employing design strategies that either frame or support the growth of nature.

I’m looking forward to meeting the new members of our team and getting started!
Posted 12 Mar 2023 22:05
Hi, I'm Holly!

I am from Leeds, UK, and previously studied at the University of Nottingham. During my year out I worked at the Associated Architects. Currently, I am in the atelier: Continuity in Architecture.

I am interested in art, travel, music and illustration. I am looking forward to meeting all of our new team members and getting started with the project!
Posted 12 Mar 2023 22:08
Hi, I’m Lauren!

I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2021 and worked at Perkins & Will for one year. Currently, I am in the Some Kind of Nature Atelier. I am interested in creating comfortable designs through sustainable methods.

Outside of Architecture I am interested in food, travel, medical dramas and true crime.
Posted 12 Mar 2023 22:08
Day 1:
We started the first day of MSA live with Introductions to get to know the team, following this we introduced The Boiler house and the community workshops that they run. We presented an outline of the collaborators brief and the project outcomes for the next few weeks, and spent some time discussing areas of the project that each student would most like to be involved in, splitting ourselves into a design and build team for the external storage space and protected workspace, and a research and material specification document team, who will produce a document to help secure potential funding to upscale the boiler house’s current Mycelium growing workshop.
In the afternoon session we ran a collaborative sketch modelling workshop and had an informal group discussion of the designs we each produced. Following the discussions we agreed upon a general form, massing and scale for the built structure to be refined by the design and build team tomorrow.

It was a great start to the project- exciting things to follow!
Posted 10 May 2023 12:40
Day 2: During the second day of MSA live we split in two groups. The building team and the booklet design team worked on their respective tasks. The design team researched mycelium and its usage for insulation, as well as started analyzing ideas for the layout of the booklet. The building team was tasked with designing the shed and lean, whereas the booklet design team was in charge of creating a booklet for the project.
The building team started their day by discussing the models that were created on the first day. They analyzed the best design ideas and used them as a starting point for their new plans. Then, started sketching plans, sections, and elevations for the shed and lean. Also, looked at precedents and thought about the best storage ideas for the shed. As the day progressed, the building team put their heads together and collaborated to come up with a final set of drawings.
Overall, it was an exciting and productive day.
Posted 10 May 2023 21:55
DAY 2 Site Visit
The build team corresponded with the client throughout the day to get design feedback and utilized provided site specifications to create initial design ideas.

Following the end of this design day, the team was able to get a quick look at the allotments the eco-shelter will be moved to and the current storage shed they have. We were able to see where Sow the City grows vegetation that the mycelium-insulated shelter will function for. Tomorrow we look forward to refining our build ideas to accommodate for the new site information we were able to get!
Posted 10 May 2023 22:47
On the third day of the MSA Live project, the building team started morning by meeting with the client in the Boiler House. We discussed the design ideas that we had brainstormed the previous day and got client feedback to refine our design. Once we concluded our design idea, we began to delve into the material selection process.
Selecting the right materials is crucial for any construction project, and we wanted to ensure that we chose materials that would be sturdy, long-lasting, and eco-friendly. We had a thorough discussion about the various options available to us and narrowed down the best choices.
After a short lunch break, we continued our work by creating Sketchup models and CAD drawings of the construction. This step was vital to the process as it allowed us to visualize the final product and make any necessary adjustments before we started construction.
Overall, Day 3 was a busy yet productive day for the building team. We were able to make significant progress on the project and were thrilled to see our plans coming together. We're looking forward to what Day 4 has in store for us!
Posted 11 May 2023 20:04
Day 3: Research Team
The team were invited to take part in a mushroom and mycelium growing course. During this, we learned about the conditions in which mushrooms grow and how mycelium is grown in house. We helped prepare various growing mediums such as agar solution - which involved heating water, agar, and glucose together - and straw - which involved shredding hay with an electric shredder and sterilising it with boiling water. After pasteurising the straw, we added mycelium strains which created a substrate for mushroom growing bags which we got to take home.
The course was a great opportunity to learn more about the growth, accessibility, and wide use of mycelium, but also helped us understand what courses like these mean to the community from the other local students who were in attendance.
The course will continue at the Boiler House tomorrow and we are eager to continue learning!
Posted 11 May 2023 21:39
Day 3: Research/ Mushroom team
We spend the day with Ladislav (Lad), the ‘Mushroom and Mycelium expert’ at the Boiler House, getting our hands dirty creating our very own Mushroom grow bags!! Lad taught us about the controlled and sterile conditions required to grow the mushrooms and showed us some mycelium insulation panels he had produced for our build project; it was so interesting to see the final formed Mycelium panels and to take part in the different stages involved in producing Mycelium- Also it was nice to get away from the computer screens and get stuck in! (We couldn’t leave all the fun to the build team!)
Posted 14 May 2023 17:15
Day 4 for the eco-shed project started with a productive meeting in the Boiler House. The team gathered together to draw technical CAD drawings as blueprints to start building on Monday. These drawings were also used to calculate all the material quantities needed to order for the build.
Once the meeting was over, the team headed to the wood workshop for a tool and equipment introduction with Steve, from the Boiler House. The team learnt how to use different types of saws, drills, sanders, and other tools we will use to build the eco-shelter. A thorough health and safety briefing was also presented, which was essential to ensure that everyone remains safe throughout the building process.
After the safety briefing, the team got to try out some of the tools for wood cutting. Everyone was excited to get started, and quickly found out that woodworking requires a lot of patience, precision, and attention to detail. Team started with some basic tasks, such as cutting wooden planks As the day progressed, everyone became more confident and skilled with the tools.
Overall, day 4 was a great success.
Posted 15 May 2023 15:08
Day 4: Research/ Mushroom team
The final day of our Mushroom and Mycelium course at the boiler house involved yet more exciting hands-on work!
In the morning session Lad delivered a presentation, in which we learnt more about the different growing substrates and mediums in which you can grow mushrooms and mycelium, it was interesting to see the variety of Mycelium examples that Lad had produced himself, and his demonstration of the ways in which Mycelium can address the over reliance on plastic use in industry.
The afternoon session is where the ‘Boiler House Angels’ came into play, we really got stuck in with producing our own MSA:23 Shitake Mushroom log, we made full use of the boiler house workshop and learnt more about how Mycelium can be embedded into other organic materials to propagate further mushroom growth.
Big thanks to Lad for all his insight this week!
Posted 15 May 2023 20:41
Today is the first day of construction. We first started with constructing the walls of the eco-shed. To start we cut down materials to create a timber frame structure. We divided ourselves into two teams: one for data measurement and the other for cutting the timber. The two groups worked alternated tasks so that each person could experience the whole building process. During the measuring process we had woodshop staff, Steve and Nick, guide us on how to use different tools. They taught us different techniques for marking measurements with a string line to improve efficiency and accuracy. During the cutting process, the team had more opportunities to practice using the chop saw.
The cut timber cannot be used directly for assembly, it also needs to be treated by soaking each end into the preserving liquid for 10 mins. After that, the timbers were ready to be assembled. During the fitting process, Lad gave us a master class on how to best use a drill. While it appears easy, it was a challenge to get good at using one. With the help of Steve and Nick we were taught how to make the the timber members fit tighter and without gaps. It is also worth talking about that fitting the side walls was a difficult task as it had a sloping frame at the top and required the posts and top frame to be cut at an angle. This needed to be done with a hand saw. With Steve and Nick demonstrating and guiding us, we quickly learnt how to use the hand saw and the tricks to use it.
After a day's work, we completed all the wall framing for the eco-shed. Thanks to Steve and Nick sharing, we also learnt a lot about woodworking in the process. It was a tough process, but everyone in the team was very committed and enthusiastic. There was a sense of pride in each member as they watched the final four sides of the solid and neatly finished frame. Tomorrow we will get a delivery of the rest of our materials and develop the ecoshed much further!
Posted 16 May 2023 05:33
Day 5: Research/ Mushroom team
A slightly different setting today, we opted for a hybrid workspace and shared a home cooked team meal- which of course included Mushroom Pizza!! We began working more closely upon the Mycelium specification document that we are producing for The Boiler House, collating all that we have learnt from Lad in our Mushroom and Mycelium course last week, along with research into current industrial uses for Mycelium, and the forecast shift towards this ‘eco-alternative’ for a wide range of applications. The document we are producing hopes to encapsulate the benefits of using Mycelium as a sustainable alternative- specifically to secure funding to upscale The Boiler House’s own Mycelium production with the aim of one day insulating their building with Mycelium panels. Today was a great opportunity to continue getting to know the team members and be productive with full stomachs!!
Posted 16 May 2023 08:36
Day 6: Build Team
Today the build team started cladding the timber frames we built yesterday with OSB. Prior to that they had to be coated with timber preservative to protect from decay and insect attack. Cladding with OSB helped strengthen the timber frames, and we all became more comfortable with using a track saw. After this was done the rest of the timber we order was delivered and we were able to create a timber frame window using a recycled window. One of the eco-shed walls had to be modified to fit the frame. This also had to be soaked with timber preservative. While the window was being made some of the team started putting the walls together with corner posts. It was really exciting seeing everything start to come together. With two of the walls up we started cutting 3x2 treated timber for the floor. It was important to get treated timber to protect the floor from future water damage, and other things that can lead to decay and rot. Today was an exciting and productive day, with everyone becoming more comfortable and skilled with the various tools we are using. Tomorrow will be very exciting to see more and more of the eco-shed come together. And eventually the lean-to shelter.

With some of the walls up it is easier to imagine the exposed mycelium insulation that will fit between the timber studs. While the research team may not be contributing to the eco-shed physically they are helping with the research that will help make the space warm and comfortable. All together the eco-shed and research will help show funders the power of mycelium and showcase the benefits of adding mycelium insulation to the Boiler House building.
Posted 16 May 2023 22:09
Day 6: Research/ Mushroom team

The team spent the day working on the Mycelium specification document in Grosvenor East. Compiling and visualising all of the rich, hands-on content that we have been involved in last week at The Boiler House. The document that we are producing for The Boiler House will include information and statistics on the alternative uses for Mycelium and the sustainable benefits of its production. It will also compare data on the thermal capacity, embodied carbon and material lifespan of Mycelium with current industry equivalents. We hope this document will encourage potential investors to think GREEN and support The Boiler House’s aim to upscale the production of Mycelium as an eco-insulation.
Posted 18 May 2023 12:11

Today is the 3rd day of the construction of the eco-shed. Unfortunately, the construction of the shelter had to be cancelled since the City Council did not complete its approval. After discussions with the client, it was decided that the green roof initially planned for the shelter would be adapted to the roof of the eco-shed. The main work done today was the installation of the flooring, the installation of the window frames, the fitting of the walls, the fabrication of the doors, the installation of the air barrier supports and the start of the roof. We had already acquired a good knowledge of timber construction techniques through practice in previous builds, so we were able to carry out the work today with ease. It is worth noting that as the construction of the eco-shed was not carried out on the actual site, we needed to consider the design to allow it to be packed and reassembled. This required us to consider how to position the screws and which ones could be covered up without disassembly and which ones needed to be exposed so that they could be unscrewed. After careful deliberation, we put together the existing walls, which gave us a prototype for the eco-shed.

It was a shame that we couldn't continue with the construction of the shelter, but we were excited and benefited from the work that had been done. Eco-shed made everyone in the BUILD TEAM feel very proud, so much so that we all wanted to take a photo with the eco-shed. A big thanks to John, Steve and Nick for their advice and guidance, which has been crucial in the construction of the eco-shed.
Posted 18 May 2023 23:26
Day 7:

On day 7 the research team were cracking on with research on mycelium insulation, its life cycle and its uses compared to the unsustainable alternative PIR.
There was a lot of collective research into the production sequence and the thermal properties of the relevant insulation via wordy journal articles.
It was also an opportunity to share around software knowledge and graphic design ideas as each member had their own pages to contribute.
It may be more of the same the next day but at least snacks can help with motivation.
Posted 19 May 2023 17:32

Today is the 4th day of the construction of the eco-shed. On the one hand, the original plan was to finish the eco-shed construction today, but installing the cladding boards was more difficult than we had thought. Due to the need for drainage, the joints of the cladding boards on each floor have to be staggered to increase the water resistance of the shed walls. This made the installation more difficult as each layer of the board was of a different module and had to be measured individually before the boards could be cut and installed. On the other hand, the roofing was completed in a step-by-step manner. However, as the shed is not built on site, there is still the need to flat pack and transport the roof, and the roof cannot be assembled in place at present. Likewise, the membrane for the roof has been cut but needs to be installed inside the roof, which will need to be done once the roof is assembled. This means that we will not be able to witness the moment when the eco-shed is fully assembled, which is a great pity.

Today's work was split into two groups, creating a healthy sense of competition. Despite the slight exhaustion, the teamwork became more efficient. Moreover, the work became less tedious, and every member of the team was so engaged that the class seemed to fly by.
Posted 19 May 2023 18:42
Day 8: Research/ Mushroom team
Nearly done! The team spent the day finalizing the visualizations for the research we have completed, and compiling the Mycelium specification document for The Boiler House. It’s been great sharing different skills and knowledge surrounding graphic design and the various software that we’ve been using these past two weeks- we’ve all learnt something from each other, and we all know so much about Mushrooms too!!
Posted 19 May 2023 19:22
Day 9 the build team finished their shed! and dismantled it to be flat packed and moved to site. All four walls got cladded up and we built a door for the shed today. After this got assembled we invited the booklet team to come see what we built before dismantling it for the flat pack, and we got to see the mycelium booklet they were working on. It was a nice wrap up of MSA live to see how everything came together and how the build and research are related.
Posted 19 May 2023 19:25