Grow Your Own Home

September 4, 2008 at 9:08 am 1 comment

Anyone who has ever seen “The Swiss Family Robinson” as a kid grew up fantasizing about living in a tree house. Now Yoav Waisel and Amram Eshel, two professors at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have developed a concept known as ‘Eco-architecture’ that could allow that dream to become a reality.

Eco-architecture – also known as tree shaping or arborsculpture – is the art of shaping living trees into useful objects and has been around for centuries. However, Waisel and Eshel have taken the art to a new level by moving beyond simple objects and using trees to create a structure that could be used as a dwelling. They already have several pilot projects underway in the United States, Australia and Israel to construct park benches, playground structures, streetlamps and gates.

The original research into eco-architecture was conducted at the Sarah Racine Root Research Laboratory at Tel Aviv University, the first and largest aeroponics lab in the world. Professor Waisel founded the laboratory nearly twenty years ago to enable scientists to research concepts that could  benefit mankind and the environment.

Plantware, founded in 2002, has been working in concert with TAU researchers to develop commercial applications for the living structures. Researchers found that certain species of trees grown aeroponically (in air instead of soil and water) do not harden. This developed into a new method for growing “soft roots,” which could easily turn living trees into useful structures.

“The approach is a new application of the well-known botanical phenomenon of aerial root development,” says Professor Eshel. “Instead of using plant branches, this patented approach takes malleable roots and shapes them into useful objects for indoors and out.”

Thought the current projects underway are small in nature, Plantware’s CEO Gordon Glazer hopes the first home prototype will be ready in about a decade and will act as a springboard for the eco-friendly technology. Though “growing your own home” can take years, the result is long lasting and desirable especially in the emerging field of green architecture.

In addition to eco-architecture, Professor Eshel’s team is also working on a number of other projects to save the planet’s resources. Under investigation are a latex-producing shrub – Euphoria tirucalii – which can be grown easily in the desert, as a source for biofuel and the genetic engineering of plant roots better water absorption.

By briansrapier

[via Psyorg]

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Entry filed under: Business, Construction, Emerging Technologies, Environment, Informational, Research, Starting a Business, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Doubling Up on the Double-Talk Green Comics

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Grow Your Own Home  |  September 4, 2008 at 10:29 am

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

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