A team of University of B.C. academics is fusing the fields of microbiology and architecture to create living building materials made out of oyster mushrooms and other edible fungi. Their research into “engineered living materials” could help curb the construction industry’s high energy and environmental impact, replace traditional insulation, or even help regulate indoor temperatures as the climate warms. One day it could even potentially help filter air pollutants such as wildfire smoke. “These materials are assembled by combining raw materials with living cells and exhibit some certain properties of living systems,” explained Nicholas Lin, an engineer with expertise in microbiology, whose research straddles both UBC’s microbiology and architecture schools. …To make the engineered living materials — whether bricks, gels that can take any shape, insulation, or drywall-like boards — he said the researchers mix mushroom spores with something high in cellulose, often a recycled or byproduct material such as sawdust, wheat chaff or rice husks.