The Calabash Brick

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calabash brick

The calabash is a species fruit can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle or utensil.

Andrew Mowbray has developed a new kind of natural modular building unit. For the past two years, the artist has been growing calabashes in reusable acrylic forms, creating square blocks that can be stacked and locked together. The calabash is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants; it is easily dried and made into functional vessels such as bottles, instruments, and birdhouses. In a time of immense resource scarcity, Mowbray has created a new and sustainable use for calabashes. By training them to grow in a square shape, Mowbray is able to produce inexpensive, organic building blocks.

When the gourds dry they become hard like structural wood. In order to best utilize this material strength, Mowbray has created a square framework that has flat sides with cut round holes that the gourd will fill while growing, as to form nubs or buttons. The nubs can be kept or removed after curing, in order for the gourd to lock in and become modular with the other gourds.

Read more: Andrew Mowbray Grows Square Building Blocks from Living Gourds | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building 

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