There’s been buzz lately about mycelium, a material made from fungi that’s being used as a greener substitute for leather and plastic in products such as clothing and packaging. But more than a decade ago, designers were talking about mycelium’s potential for another use — as a building material. This could lead to the construction of healthier buildings made of components that are grown instead of manufactured and can be triggered to biodegrade at the end of their life, instead of piling up as demolition waste in landfills. Mycelium is the root network of fungi, which in nature help decompose materials like wood and leaves, recycling their nutrients and storing their carbon in the soil. But it can also be grown by humans from waste materials such as sawdust or agricultural residues such as plant stalks and husks, recycling them and generating a new material or product within weeks in a low-cost, low-energy process compared to traditional manufacturing. It can even be grown to a particular shape, similar to the way concrete is cast.