Alumni 2023

Lisa Maahsen

Lisa Maahsen is a German-Swiss interior architect currently working as a spatial designer at Aroma in Zürich, Switzerland.

Lisa pursued her Bachelor’s in Interior Architecture at the Hochschule für Technik in Stuttgart, exploring spatial design, furniture design, and scenography. She joined the MAIA program at HEAD – Genève in 2021 with a focus on contributing to the rethinking of the building industry in ecological terms, and she graduated with a Master’s degree in Interior Architecture in 2023. That year, Lisa participated in Milan Design Week with her Virtual Reality projects Endless Harmony and Embrace. She also published her theoretical Master thesis, “A Biological Comeback in Architecture: The Relationship Between Inhabitants and Grown Domestic Environments with Living Mycelium as a Building Material,” on SONAR. Her diploma project, Growing Shelter, won the Prix d’encouragement from the Swiss Interior Architecture Professional Association (VSI.ASAI) and was exhibited at Swissbau Basel in January 2024.

Diploma Project
Growing Shelter: A Mycelium Application Manual to Grow Temporary Shelters

Growing Shelter explores the potential applications of mycelium-grown elements for constructing temporary shelters, challenging conventional understandings of time in architectural design. The rapid growth characteristics of mycelium make it a suitable building material for structures requiring quick assembly and easy dismantling. This material demands minimal energy for growth and can be tailored for various uses. Mycelium-based structures contribute to waste reduction and minimize the environmental impact of temporary installations.

The increasing frequency and severity of disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, and conflicts, have heightened the demand for shelter solutions. Current evacuation plans offer emergency housing for a few nights, where individuals wait to be relocated to transitional accommodations. However, many people end up residing in these emergency shelters for months under substandard conditions. The use of mycelium addresses multiple issues prevalent in contemporary shelters, such as noise, lack of privacy, and the loss of connection. The project develops a method and a reproducible technical process to cultivate shelter components directly on-site, where they are needed, within a three-day timeframe. A biodegradable net scaffold aids in shaping the mycelium components into distinctive and personalized safe spaces.

Lisa Maahsen
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Leonid Slonimsky / Assistant: Paule Perron

Growing Shelter

Image Credits: © HEAD – Genève / Guillaume Collignon