At the Food and Architecture Fair we came across an award-winning MushroomWall, the brainchild of Jacques Abelman of Groundcondition in collaboration with Marijke Bruinsma de Stuurlui stedenbouw.

MushroomWall at the Food and Architecture Fair.

MushroomWall aims to capture a part of the urban waste stream in the form of used coffee grounds and transform it into food— delicious oyster mushrooms. At the same time, the project aims to makes the process of recuperation, transformation, and harvesting visible by locating it in public space.

The public is already enthralled with MushroomWall!

Jacques and Marijke’s point of departure was the fact that Amsterdam has over 4000 cafes, hotels, and restaurants that generate around 20,000 kilos of coffee grounds every day.  The spent coffee is normally mixed with other trash and landfilled. Mushrooms are such efficient biological machines— 100% bio-efficient according to mycologist Paul Stamets— that a quarter of the mass of the used coffee can become mushrooms. The end product of the growth cycle, besides the protein rich Pleurotus ostreatus, is a rich humus that’s a sort of super-compost.


The vertical growing system uses recycled plastic cylinders placed on the walls of narrow alleys – or stegen– in inner city Amsterdam. The cool, protected alleys are very suitable for mushroom cultivation. Constant conditions are maintained inside the transparent growing cases, and rainwater is used to provide humidity.

The idea is to partner with restaurants and cafes in central Amsterdam, who can begin to transform their own waste into food that can be used in the kitchen. Cooks will be able to walk out their door to harvest fresh mushrooms on their doorsteps.

Presenting at the Food and Architecture Fair

The co-creators also set out to examine all of the unused urban vertical space that could be potentially used for this specific type of urban agriculture. In addition to capturing and transforming urban waste, MushroomWall will beautify urban space. Ignored and underutilized alleys will become magical, mysterious, and nutritional destinations.

MushroomWall is a simple concept: waste = food. By making this process clearly visible, accessible, and profitable, a new sustainable and cultural cycle is added to urban life.

Jacques and Marijke showed the MushroomWall project  at the “Appetizing Architecture” ARCAM Food and Architecture Fair on June 22-24 in Amsterdam and were selected as winners from among eight finalist projects


Jacques Abelman

Jacques is an ecological designer working in the field of landscape architecture in the Netherlands. Since 2007 he has been active in the field of landscape architecture in the Netherlands, working for firms such as DS Landscape Architects and Inside Outside. In addition to running his own office, groundcondition, he is currently conducting research for the Living Landscape research group of the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and graduating with a master’s in landscape architecture. His goal is to move past sustainability to fully embrace design that is regenerative of human and natural systems.


Marijke Bruinsma

Marijke Bruinsma (urban and landscape designer) is the co-founder of De Stuurlui stedenbouw, a young and professional agency for urban planning in Amsterdam. For her graduation project at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam, ‘The Hidden City,’ she received a nomination for Archiprix 2010 and received the fourth prize of StedenbouwNU 2012. Lately, she is particularly engaged in EETprojecten in the city as EETHUIS, EETFABRIEK, the vegetable garden and MushroomWall.


Posted on 23 July 2012 and filed under Uncategorized