Why bamboo is the future of Asian construction
The future of architecture: imagining a world where buildings are constructed from living materials
Can you imagine a world in which the built environment around us is 3D printed from living materials? That buildings will sprout, bloom, wither, produce new types of materials, and eventually return to the ground? To Grow a Building is a performative laboratory space that 3D prints – in real time – a living structure. The project presents a new approach to integrating flora into the design process, by developing a new material for 3D printing, through which seeding is an inseparable part of the manufacturing process. To Grow a Building is a doorway to a future world in which there are people who build buildings and there are people who make them grow.
During Jerusalem Design Week 2022, designers Elisheva Gillis, Gitit Linker, Danny Freedman, Noa Zermati, Adi Segal, Rebeca Partook, Or Naim and Nof Nathansohn imagined the possibility of a world in which buildings would be 3D printed using from organic materials. In this outdoor performative lab space featured on the grounds of Maison Hansen and supported by Rogovin, a company that promotes green innovation in real estate, a bespoke robotic arm built small structures using a mix of soil and seeds.
Linked to the robot’s computer, each structural design was built by the robotic arm in a systematic, almost fascinating way. Once completed, the structures take on a life of their own: the seeds germinate, covering the ground with lush vegetation and the roots settle inside.
Why bamboo is the future of Asian construction
Instead of concrete and steel buildings, the project proposes an architecture that uses soil and local roots as structural elements. As the world faces an ecological crisis, the use of industrial and non-local resources is only increasing.
The eleventh edition of Jerusalem Design Week welcomed more than 40,000 enthusiastic visitors to the Hansen House Center for Design, Media and Technology. Israel’s premier design event, Jerusalem Design Week featured an eclectic mix of exhibitions, installations and projects by more than 150 Israeli and international designers. Created especially for this year’s theme ‘For now’, the work of the guest designers explored both the ephemeral of design and the design of the ephemeral. JDW looked at how the weather can be harnessed to have a positive effect in times of uncertainty.
Although presented at JDW this year, the notion of 3D printing from living materials has also been explored through other projects. Based in Massa Lombarda (Ravenna, Italy), Mario Cucinella Architects and Wasp, the Italian leader in 3D printing, had previously made the first house 3D printed from raw earth using a process called TECLA (technology and clay).
TECLA is an innovative circular housing model that combines research on vernacular building practices, the study of bioclimatic principles and the use of natural and local materials. It is an almost zero-emission project: its envelope and the use of an entirely local material make it possible to reduce waste and scrap. This and the use of raw earth make TECLA a pioneering example of low carbon housing.
In addition to combining the use of soil, seeds and raw earth with 3D printing technology, the possibility of using mycelium in the construction process has also been heavily considered and explored in recent years as a potential building material. Mycelium is a naturally occurring fungal material that is organic, compostable, and biodegradable, with industrial-grade strength that could be used as building blocks for future homes.
The Living explored the use of mycelium in the building process through their winning design in the 2014 MoMA PS1 Young Architects program, Hy-Fi. The project was the first major structure to be made of this new material, with these organic bricks harnessing the amazing “biological algorithm” of fungus roots, tuning it to make a new building material that grows in five days, with no waste, without energy input and zero carbon emissions.
Imagining a future where the architecture around us is built entirely from eco-materials doesn’t seem that far off in light of the technological advances we’ve witnessed over the past decade. Increasingly, we encounter architecture around us that lives and breathes, just like us, growing, evolving and changing to fit the mold of what the future of the architectural scene needs: sustainability and innovation, and what better way to start than with the building blocks of the built environment.
This article is part of the ArchDaily topics: The future of Construction materials. Each month we explore a topic in depth through articles, interviews, news and projects. Learn more about our ArchDaily topics. As always, at ArchDaily, we welcome contributions from our readers; if you wish to submit an article or a project, Contact us.