Sunday, February 16, 2014

Formal vs Organic forms and Caterpillar Tents

I want to point out the different patterns in this "treehouse" compared to the living bridges image. The regular and symmetrical pattern in the round building simulate the standard architecture of today. That of the living bridges of meghalaya is almost completely random if not chaotic.




I propose that living tree structures should take this into account and work with the natural growth pattern of the trees that are used, rather than trying to mold them into the square forms of conventional architecture. A pine forest arbortecture would look much different than that of a live oak forest arbortecture .

The regimented design is bound to grow wilder by the year and can only remain uniform through heavy pruning. Like a formal hedge. Pretty but extravagant.

A truly sustainable green architecture would provide shelter with the least amount of input. Aside from bending small branches and tying them together, how much less input could one use to achieve some benefit?


The webs of tent caterpillars come to mind. One might picture human scale tent structures attached to trees in a similar fashion. Even the use of multiple semi porous layers is intriguing. I picture shell within shell each layer more protected from the elements than the next. 

It's even possible to train the efforts of silk worms to follow a predetermined pattern...

The silk pavilion


SILK PAVILION from Mediated Matter Group on Vimeo.

While the experiment to train silkworms to make tents is at least as ambitious as that of training trees in the shape of houses, that's no reason not to do both, together, and at the same time. Unfortunately, the caterpillars must eat the tree to make silk, so there's a hurdle to overcome.



This 3d printed house design was displayed in London...


This video show stages of structural design by algorithm.

Softkill Algorithm from Sophia Tang on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tread "Lightly"


Following the "tread lightly on the earth" theme, not treading at all is actually an option. The AerosCraft lighter than air vehicle that is an innovation on the blimp theme is close to flying their first prototype (video).



Extrapolating that technology combined with solar and wind generation of electricity, one might envision a "sky yacht" living space. For our purposes, a living space in the sky takes the phrase "minimum impact on the planet" literally. The first prototype is a $50 million dollar endeavor. But some day in the future, they may be as common as buying a house. Let's say two generations away.

Combine this idea with "dense plasma fusion" reactor generators (not yet proven, links here), which produce helium as a byproduct of producing electricity, one could foresee entire cities in the sky "star wars style".


These platforms would require terrestrial  resources and facilities to build, but other aspects of living "untethered" from the ground have some energy and environment saving advantages.



The ability to move the vehicle to locations where the weather is most pleasant means that heating and cooling costs would be practically eliminated (mere altitude change would suffice). Picture a nomadic style of floating north in the summer, south in the winter like snow birds. Becoming migratory, nomads. Scenario 3.








Hotel design.




This is a drastic change from living in one place on the ground, I realize. But for the moment, let's just explore the idea in light of sailors on the ocean.


http://www.ecofriend.com/eco-transportation-aeolus-airship-aerodynamic-helium-powered-air-vehicle.html

http://photochloride4.rssing.com/browser.php?indx=3786738&item=275

All those facilities would resemble those of a ship, or yacht, or sailboat. Live aboard ref.

Some specs for a live aboard design:
  • 10,000 watts of photovoltaic panels
  • 20,000 watts of battery storage
  • 1500 watts of wind turbines (3 small turbines)
  • Electric outboard drives
  • Outboard drives can rotate 180 degrees as well as instant reverse
  • Composting toilets
  • Solar hot water and cabin heating
  • Roof collects water
  • Solar distillation for potable water
  • 5 camera video 
  • GPS feedback system for maintaining station without anchor

How would such a vessel contend with storms?

Regular landings to re-supply (provision) are necessary. How is that done? Is it economical to land the entire vessel frequently? Is there a transfer vessel / elevator to access the platform without landing?  Is that necessary? Is staying aloft doable or is flying only useful for moving from one location to another? What's the safest state, landed on the ground, floating untethered, floating at anchor, landed on water? Obviously it's landed and stored in a hanger, but this scenario assumes something larger than most hangars, and I would like to see something permanently aloft.

A standard guideline of flying at 10k feet elevation would avoid most obstacles, but not all, mountains would still be a hazard. More than 10k feet the hazard is altitude sickness. 8k feet is actually better from that respect.

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video sequence


wilderness
closer look shows patterns in the bush
follow an old and overgrown road towards a green mountain
green mountain is a city shrouded in trees
waterfalls and green mixed with people standing, talking, on phones,
walking on elevated walkways, animals on the ground underneath
a blimp sits in the water
another lifts off to join more in the sky
among the clouds, many blimps are linked by walkways in a mass collection
people shuttle back and forth from the ground to the sky in smaller blimp vehicles.
===========================
just a mention of another favorite flyer of mine. New flying designs are fraught with hurdles and setbacks... http://www.wingco.com/progress.htm

more later

Monday, October 07, 2013

Forest city

The future vision of the 50's was super scale industrial structures that reflected the top down organization of the day.
Thoroughly researched yet resource intensive design.
But the essential quality of the future is that it will be different, and always in ways we don't expect.

The Arbortecture vision of the future returns structures to a natural scale. There are 30 story trees, so let's assume that's a sustainable limit for our argument. These buildings however will be alive. Instead of wasting energy and releasing carbon; cutting hauling, sawing, nailing, and on and on, we grow live, self healing structures from the trees themselves.



The future will look a lot more like the distant past actually. A forest, trails, living spaces hidden in the living brush, the essential quality not of developed "man over nature" design, but of raw nature seemingly growing to fit the needs of people.

Our infrastructure of the "built world" will be hidden. We'll use less power, drive less, use less "brute force over nature".

Instead of a huge industrial complex our technology will shrink, miniaturize. We have instant and continuous contact with each other wherever we are. Our life routines have changed from driving to offices and factories each day, to walking a short distance to stretch one's legs, while communicating via satellite to some colleague. Physical work with tools and machines is tied to "bricks and mortar" but these will become more seasonal than permanent. As manufacturing robots further increase productivity, most factories will fill their annual quota of products in just a few months, leaving people untethered from work most of the time.










Living spaces are growing smaller and more efficient. How will we stay cool, warm, insect free, in a forest? How much infrastructure is necessary? Can we picture our comfort increasing, while use of resources and infrastructure decrease? The built world requires maintenance, expensive upkeep. Plumbing, clean water, air conditioning, electricity; how will these services evolve in the forrest city?

Even the largest mega city will look like a forest at a distance. But as you get closer you will see that the random distribution of leaves and branches harbors halls, rooms, and living quarters.



Innitially our existing structures and neighborhoods will gradually be forested as trees grow up and surround our "rape and scrape" subdivisions and suburbs. From forested neighborhoods we begin to abandon the ubiquitous brick ranch facade in favor of living skins that require no maintenance. Kudzu perhaps in the southeast. Ivy almost anywhere.


Generations will perfect the growth of plants to form natural havens to support human habitation. Existing buildings become scaffolds. Solar panels are mounted in treetops.

This strategy is one of minimal influence on the environment to gently guide nature to provide shelter in the most efficient way possible.

At some point, new structures will be designed from scratch using living tissues. These designs exist today. See many examples below. All are so slow that they require commitment from multiple generations. A formidable barrier.

===========================

Different designs will evolve for different climates. In Hawaii's gentle climate, protection from wind, rain and insects are about all that's required. Tent structures under trees would suffice as a starting point.

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As the growth ring closes in on the city centers, high rises will become engulfed in green. How will our laws evolve to accommodate leaf litter falling from 30 stories?



How do we make the balance between pavement and root systems? What kind of plants will live kindly with building foundations? What aesthetic will cherish the living matter over squeaky clean concrete and steel? Enter the The High Line greenway in New York.


The High Line greenway in New York.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cherry Trees A Two-Storey Tall Retreat


 In this beautiful instance of "slow design" by Swedish architecture firm Visiondivision, cherry trees are gradually shaped to form a two-storey structure over time -- 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Ivy Clad: For the Love of Ivy -- Study: Ivy on Walls Offers ...




Ivy Clad: For the Love of Ivy -- Study: Ivy on Walls Offers ...: My house -- a view of the front. The Boston Ivy has just fully leafed out. The Boston Ivy growing over the walls of my current h...

Mitchell Joachim: Don't build your home, grow it!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Living, Growing Architecture


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Plantware/99579349162

http://joernwryanbolosteros.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/natural-architecture/

German trio makes living treehouses


German trio makes living treehouses

http://www.greendiary.com/entry/arbo-architecture-german-trio-pioneers-living-treehouses/

I want to point out the different patterns in this "treehouse" compared to the living bridges image in the previous post. The regular and symmetrical pattern in this building simulate the standard architecture of today. That of the living bridges of megalya is almost completely random. I propose that living tree structures should take this into account and work with the natural growth pattern of the trees that are used, rather than trying to mold them into the square forms of conventional architecture. The regimented design is bound to grow wilder by the year and can only remain uniform through heavy pruning. Like a formal hedge. Pretty but extravagant. A truly sustainable green architecture would provide shelter with the least amount of input. Aside from bending small branches and tying them together, how much less input could one use to achieve some benefit?

The Root Bridges of Cherrapungee


In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren't built - they're grown.

My question is: Why stop at bridges? Why not grow a home in the trees with this method?

http://atlasobscura.com/places/root-bridges-cherrapungee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEI_GRjvDPk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sB1pr2Gjmg

http://vimeo.com/57649803

http://youtu.be/vjg0Q7u1ix0

http://youtu.be/oESC2iDZArI

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

London Plane Tree may be a good choice for Georgia

A quick sort through the database at the arborday foundation reccomends the London Plane tree for growing in our zone 7 here in Georgia. Besides the large size, deciduous and disease resistance features, it is "fast growing" which makes it an especially good choice for arbortecture. There are a very nice grove of these in Piedmont park in atlanta that prove their suitability for our area. They do reccomend well-drained soil which might be a problem depending on the location. It could be that planting in a deep trench with a drained bottom would solve this issue were a high clay hardpan hill the only available site. Appearently a low soggy bottom would be out of the question though.


Planetree, London
Platanus x acerifolia
Red-brown scales flake to show cream-colored inner bark. Large distinctive leaves with lighter undersides. Fast growing, resistant to anthracnose. Prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun to light shade. Grows to 75' to 100', 80' spread. (zones 5-9)





http://www.arborday.org/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?id=33