What has happened to our society? We build enormous buildings, we put entire forests down for its economic exploitation and we do not conceive nature and civilization as one. We no longer worry about the floor we live on. Long time ago mankind used to know what nature was. People knew how to take care and advantage of it. But now, we associate floor just to economic speculation and this implies the lack of green spaces into the urban area. This is why we design and propose a new way of building and, therefore, a new way of living in a direct relation with nature.
We believe in nature. We believe in nature as a huge source of potential for every aspect in our lives. We of course know that mankind has evolved much since those days when people used to live in trees, that is something we must assume. That is why we revise the way we actually live and design new solutions for it.
After a long trip around the south of Spain living as nomadic people, we thought about those particular factors that turned a determine place into a living space. Colonizing different sites, either natural or artificial, we made an investigation that turned into three specific points: water, shade and flexibility; and therefore our design satisfies these three points in a very efficient way.
Natural architecture is evolving much these days. Many studies about the resistance of trees and the way they grow in time evidence how building with nature is absolutely feasible, with clear benefits over traditional architecture. We can create liveable and resistant natural structures in response to our needs and control in some way its growth, guiding them in the direction we want so as to solve the problems we have.
The key advantage of using plants for construction is the ecological aspect. While one of the fundamental problems of a building is the emission of carbon dioxide, our building would not just have cero emission of CO2, but would also produce oxygen creating natural lungs for the area where it would be implemented.
Moreover, the living building would consume itself all of the organic waste generated by its use, establishing a series of big deposits underground that would turn into compost so as to collaborate in the growth of the plants and, therefore, of the building itself.
Nowadays, a lot of vegetal structures have already been built, but they all depend more or less on an artificial support such as scaffolds. What we are trying to approach is a completely organic space by weaving the tree branches into the horizontal and vertical structure, so that they reach enough resistance when they mature.
The project displays a succession of structural cores situated along the place, which plan’s geometry has been initially controlled. In this manner, the trees’ growth would be guided to form the perimeter grid that works as the building’s structure by creating a clamp system connecting the branches so that they merge while they grow up, generating a perfectly braced structure. Moreover, inside of this reticular structure facade we establish vertical access cores that also include basic facilities, which also help to the global stability.
The construction of this building needs a long development on time, among 6 to 8 years, and therefore needs an exhaustive execution planning based in the hierarchy of needs in the program pieces. Building this living structure allows the program's evolution over time depending on the desired height and established conditions.
In regard to the program, we suggest the ground floor as the public floor. It is thought to be diaphanous, integrating covered and uncovered spaces. The first floor and the higher floors would be destined to private use, separated from the lower life as a refuge for thinking, sleeping and resting in a direct relation with nature.
The vegetal facade offers many advantages in respect of interior spaces’ conditioning. It provides thermal and acoustic insulation, as well as a great solar lighting regulation in every season. We also propose to set very light textile substructures inside of the vegetable structure which would adapt their shape to the vegetable facades and they would be used only when necessary.
Status: School Project
Location: Milan, IT
Additional Credits: Macarena García, Marta Romero, Rocío Bachiller