Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grow your own garden office

As long as you’re not in a rush, how about growing your own garden office? Pictured is an example of how it could be done, a design by architects Mitchell Joachim, Lara Greden, and Javier Arbona-Homar which they call the Fab Tree Hab. By weaving together young trees (‘pleaching’), it would be possible to build a shedworkable lattice structure over several years. As the trees mature, vines are grown onto the walls and gaps filled with earth or other plants. Inside, the walls would be insulated with straw and clay. For more information click here.

Richard Reames is one of the pioneers of building using trees and grows chairs, tables and other ‘arborsculptures’ at his Oregon nursery/studio and for clients. “Living trees could be grown in such a way as to provide a weather tight structure,” he says. “By planning and encouraging the trees to grow together a solid structure can be grown. The trees could also provide fruit or firewood on an annual basis. These living houses would be almost indestructible and last for much longer than the life of the trees themselves, which could be hundreds or even thousands of years.” More information at his site here where you can also buy a copy of Richard’s excellent book on the subject.

Here's an example of how these living sheds can look, the ficus benjamina house on Okinawa Island. You might also be interested in the Treedome Project.These clever folk have designed latticeworks of tree branches and grown them into cylindrical, multi-room dwellings which become fully-enclosed botanical domes. Fruit and other foods grow on the roof and walls.

All these projects have been covered at the marvellous inhabitat here and here. Thanks to our German correspondent Cathy Dobson for alerting me to this.

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