Recently their first “baubotanical” tower made of living trees was completed - though it isn't quite mature yet. Their prototype 'building' is located in the south of Germany and is nearly 9 meters high with a base area of approximately 8 square meters.
It's basically the Keep On The Borderlands, except green.
Living plant constructions may be just a boutique idea but the science is interesting. Trees provide a healthy microclimate in cities and we like their appearance – but normally it takes decades until a tree is fully developed.
The aim of baubotanical research is to design and to build living plant constructions as architectural bearing structures in the dimension of fully grown trees, creating in faster time green spaces that combine the aesthetic and ecologic qualities of trees, with architectural usage and functionality.
Basically the tower consists of a framework-like structure made of several hundred young plants (White Willow/salix alba) only two meters high. Only the plants at ground level are planted in the soil, the others are rooted in plant containers and plugged into a temporary steel scaffolding. It's old time grafting made new again.
Over time, when the plants have joined and those at the bottom have developed a sufficient root system in the ground, the plant containers will be removed.
When the living structure is solid enough to carry the load of the three zinc-coated steel platforms and the working load, the scaffolding will be removed. Photo: University of Stuttgart
This year the plants will sprout and form a green wall. When the living structure is solid enough to carry the load of the three zinc-coated steel platforms and the working load, the scaffolding will be removed. How much time the whole process will take depends on many factors and will be investigated at this tower building – a time period between 8 and 10 years is estimated.
The living tower was the PHD project of Ferdinand Ludwig, advised by Prof. Gerd de Bruyn (Igma, University of Stuttgart) and Prof. Thomas Speck (Plant Biomechanics Group Freiburg, University of Freiburg). The building was designed and build in collaboration with the sculptor Cornelius Hackenbracht (Neue Kunst am Ried, Wald-Ruhestetten) and is supported by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, several companies, engineering offices and further sponsors.
The tower will be opened to the public September 19th, 2009. On the site (Neue Kunst am Ried“, Wald-Ruhestetten) there is the opportunity to visit a baubotanical catwalk as well.
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