Nature is inherently a perfect system. When design pushes against the current a disconnect is created between man and nature. Modern man has used Architecture and Landscape Architecture to display it's dominance over the natural world. Perhaps it stems from America's Puritan beginnings, fortunately we're living in an exciting era where designers are creating symbiotically with the environment. An example of this is Arborsculpture.
Complete sustainable design, Arborsculpture, a term coined by Richard Reames, relies on the ability of trees to morph together by the approach known as grafting and pleaching, creating desired shapes as new wood forms.
The "roots" of Arborsculpture first appear centuries ago in the 500-yr-old miniature painting by Jean Perreal depicting an angel sitting in an extravagant "living chair". The practice continued throughout history and was popularized by Axel Erlandson in the 1940's with his famous "Tree Circus". The current craftsman of Arborsculpture, Richard Reames, sees this art as environmentally beneficial, very affordable, not to mention having the potential to become practical alternatives for producing smart, eco-positive furniture, landscaping, and shelter.
In collaboration with Architects Mitchell Joachim, Javier Arbona, and Environmental Engineer Lara Greden, the published plans for a self-sustaining home know as Fab Tree Hab. Using the same grafting and pleaching process the structure will utilize conventional computer designed scaffolds to increase the control, depth, and accuracy of this building method. Weaved along the exterior will be a dense protective layer of vines interspersed with soil pockets and growing plants.
There are some advancements needed for the actual realization of the concept. Innovations in bioplastic windows are needed to seal properly within the wood as well as the management of how it will remain dry and pest free.
Despite these obstacles the realization of the tree structures, which would take up to 5 years to grow could allow for reforestation to an urban setting. Rather then manufacturing timber for construction, trees could be farmed and live growth used for structures. Built symbiotically with the surrounding ecosystem.
The Fab Tree Hab demostrates how design has come full circle, combining ancient and modern technologies to once again show the interdependency of man and nature.