Saturday, July 29, 2006

Growing your house

When I was a kid, there was a huge Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) tree in front of my house. I loved to climb up and hang upside down from the thick branches. Somewhere in the middle the main trunk branched out into three. That was where I would settle down with my legs straddling one of the big branches and my back on the main trunk.

With the tree swaying in the cool breeze, it was easy to doze off. I learnt that a tree is not a good place to doze off when I fell off once. I lay there on the ground and thought that I was dead - could not breathe and move. Don’t know how long I lay there but I remember that my mom picked me up and made a big fuss. She forbade me from climbing up the tree ever again. However after a few months, I was up the branches again.

I had always dreamt of building a tree house on that tree but my father never agreed and I didn’t have the expertise or the facilities to do it myself.

Anyway, last weekend in KL, I was flipping through the Property supplement in the NST when I came across an interesting article about growing your own house. Yes, I mean “growing” and not “building”.

I love this new concept of home design, which was developed by the MIT’s Human Ecology Design team comprising of Mitchell Joachim, Lara Greden, Phd and Javier Arbona, SMArch. They call it the the ‘Fab Tree Hab’. According to them the
“design seeks to protect and embrace the ecosystem as a source of sustainability in the built environment”.
As mentioned in their website:
Our goal was to propose a method to grow homes from native seeds. This enables these new local dwellings to be a part of an absolutely green community.

1. Composed with 100% living nutrients.
2. Harmonize & embrace growth.
3. Make effective contributions to the ecosystem.
4. Accountable removal of human impacts.
5. Involve arboreal farming & production.
6. Subsume technology within terrestrial environs.
7. Circulate water & metabolic flows symbiotically.
8. Consider the life cycle, from use to disposal.
9. Achieve a fitness with our earthen web of life.

They use an ancient method in horticulture known as ‘Pleaching,’ which involves weaving together tree branches to form living archways, lattices, or screens. Not sure how this differs from Arborsculpture, which refers to the art of shaping tree trunks to create art and functional items through bending, grafting, pruning, and multiple planting.

Growth stages

The house

I found out that this is not a new concept. In fact Wiechula, a German agricultural engineer wrote a book called Developing Houses from Living Trees in 1926.

There is only one concern of mine. Not really keen on sharing my bed with ants and other bugs, which would definitely be attracted to a living tree.

Related Links:
- How To Grow A Chair: An Interview with Richard Reames
- Index - Fab Tree Hab



J said...

Looks so cool - but yeah, having all those bugs and creepy crawlies around would be a real pain....

*lynne* (azlynne1972) said...

i soooooo totally love that concept! i wonder which part of the world would be most practical for it though... kalau equatorial i think there's be too many bugs, as you point out, plus rain!! And certainly it wouldn't be practical for the crappy/cold autumn/winter weather, kan?

sweetspirits said...

Hmm looks okz , but i really don't like bugs at all ewwwwy .


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