Saturday, January 19, 2013

Diggin' the Idea of a Mushroom Garden Park!

A pedestrian walkway in an old railway...underground! 
Check out the “Mushroom Garden” underground park.

The “Mushroom Garden” underground park

The High Line Park in Manhattan–an old elevated railway transformed into a snaking park trail–has officially sparked a frenzy of excitement about rehabilitating old transit areas into green space, even through the idea has actually been around for a while (Paris’s Promenade Plantée debuted in 1993). But what happens when you’ve got an out of commission rail line–underground?
The defunct “Mail Rail” tunnel — a narrow gauge railway used for transporting mail around London–closed in 2003 and UK’s Landscape Institute, in partnership with the Mayor of London and the Garden Museum, has run a design competition to decide what to do with it. The 170 entries included some wonderfully creative ideas, from public swimming area to rehabilitated wetlands and a floating park. The winner: London-based Fletcher Priest Architects created a plan to turn the tunnels into an urban mushroom farm and pedestrian stroll. The pedestrian walkway would be lit at street level by glass-fiber, mushroom-shaped sculptures and the ‘shroom crop could supply pop-up “Funghi” cafes at the tunnel’s entrance and exit.

Check out the plans for the “Pop Down” here: Fungi are truly wonderful and under-appreciated organisms. In addition to providing food and visual delight for the visitors, the colony can help clean toxins from the soil. This is a wonderfully creative concept for a public park and truly unique–hopefully it will will be built!

This will be an underground oasis for mosses, lichen and funghi, where the mycelium and basidiomycete are king. 

“Mycelium is Earth’s natural Internet” 
Paul Stamets, Mycologist

Pop Down seeks to capitalise on a forgotten network of tunnels under London, an urban experience where visitors can embark on an expedition underground, entering and exiting the tunnels from street level. The tunnels provide the ideal environment for an urban mushroom farm with the introduction of daylight through a series of sculptural glass-fibre ‘mushrooms’ at street level. These will highlight the route of the tunnel above ground and will convey daylight to the tunnels below through punctures along their length. The produce will serve new pop-up concept ‘Funghi’ restaurants and cafés at each entrance.

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