What is Arbortecture?? First, ask yourself this:
Are you stressed from the busy streets, high density subway stations, and those strong odor producing restaurants? Do you feel the need to stop and run straight into the heart of the woods and hug a tree?
If you have slightly nodded to the questions above, you should know that Arbotectuture will address those issues!
The word “Arbortecture” is an abbreviation of “arboreal” and “architecture.” It basically means, instead of building and crafting our own tools, we will just grow the tools. It also means inhabiting the trees. Another term similar is “Botany Building,” a building that is created from a living structure. Now what I’m interested in is seeking a way to seize control of these plants, habituate their bodies as well as make them produce all the energy.
We became more and more aware of the important connection between humans and plants, therefore we started developing more eco-friendly methods to preserve that connection.
It also used to be that we just placed plants into the working and living areas to decorate the space; now most architects tries to entertain the idea of fusing the plants into the roof and walls (especially in the renderings.) The idea of a green roof and/or a living wall works, the rainwater irrigates them, the plants in turn lower the embodied energy of the building – now, to take it to the extreme Arbortecture is the idea green and eco-friendly architecture because it is literally the living plant itself.
The co-existence between plants and architecture had existed since ancient times. Although aside from the informal vernacular architecture, plant symbolism had existed as decorations or arabesque patterns on the walls and floors of our dwelling since the ancient Greeks. The evolution of fusing plants into our architecture slowly went from a pure decoration into something useable with the Khasi people in India creating a Living Root Bridge of Cherrapunji 600 years ago. Then John Krubsack grew his chair in 1914; Axel Erlandson and his 70 trees in the 1880s; works from Arthur Wiechula, Dan Ladd, Nirandr Boonnetr, Peter Cook and Becky Northey with their chairs exhibited on 2005 world fair expo in Japan; Richard Reames and his books; Patrick Doughert architectural artworks…. The list goes on and on.
An interesting project that directly shows what Arbortecture is about is the Fab Tree Hab by Terraform designers, Mitchell Joachim, Lara Greden and Javier Arbona. Their concept was to reshape a trees to shape a structure in a 5 year process to create a house and then covering the structure with clay.
The Patient Gardener is another amazing Project designed by a group of students in Milan Polytechnic University and Swedish architectural firm VisionDivision. It was an ambitious 60 to 80 year plan to grow these trees into the desired dome shape.
Ferdinand Ludwig, who is the pioneer in botanic constructions, produced his first prototype in living plant construction in 2005. Since then, Ludwig and his team wrote many publications, researches and designs in living constructions. Some of their work includes examination on the knots (how trees get connected to each other,) other works like “Living Air Bridges” examines how pneumatic supporting structures can be used to create baubotanical structures. Another cool project was the Baubotanik Tower, which tested how engineering can contribute to creating buildings with living structures.
There are a lot of other fascinating Arbortecture projects out there. So, want to know more? Make sure to check back on our website every week for more great news on Arbortecture!
By: Shahin Shirvani