Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Landolf Rhode-Barbarigos

Second Committee Member

Marco Savoia

Third Committee Member

Antonio Nanni


As sustainability becomes an integral design driver for current civil structures, new materials and forms are investigated. The aim of this study is to investigate analytically and numerically the mechanical behavior of monolithic domes composed of mycological fungi. The study focuses on hemispherical and elliptical forms, as the most typical solution for domes. The influence of different types of loading, geometrical parameters, material properties and boundary conditions is investigated in this study. For the cases covered by the classical shell theory, a comparison between the analytical and the finite element solution is given. Two case studies regarding the dome of basilica of “San Luca” (Bologna, Italy) and the dome of sanctuary of “Vicoforte” (Vicoforte, Italy) are included. After the linear analysis under loading, buckling is also investigated as a critical type of failure through a parametric study using finite elements model. Since shells rely on their shape, form-found domes are also investigated and a comparison between the behavior of the form-found domes and the hemispherical domes under the linear and buckling analysis is conducted. From the analysis it emerges that form-finding can enhance the structural response of mycelium-based domes, although buckling becomes even more critical for their design. Furthermore, an optimal height to span ratio for the buckling of form-found domes is identified. This study highlights the importance of investigating appropriate forms for the design of novel biomaterial-based structures.


Monolithic; Shell; Dome; Form-finding; Mycelium; Buckling