A New Branch of Architecture: Grow Your Own Building

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Images via Spiegel Online

Architecture is not a profession for those with short attention spans, but German architect Ferdinand Ludwig is creating a whole new branch of architecture: he grows buildings.

Philip Bethge writes in Spiegel Online :

Ludwig and fellow architects, Oliver Storz and Hannes Schwertfeger, call their new specialty "building botany." As part of this the three men are building structures made from plants as well as studying the elasticity of plane trees and examining how effectively willows can grow around steel pipes at the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Basics in Modern Architectural Design.


Oliver Storz (l), Ferdinand Ludwig (c) and Hannes Schwertfeger (r)

"The basic rule is this: All forces pass through the wood, from top to bottom," Schwertfeger explains. And the trio has already built their first structures. For example on Lake Constance where a group of willows surround a metal walkway. And in the Bavarian Forest, trees form a "diagonal support frame" for a bird watching station. And now the pioneers are planning to build a "green room" in downtown Stuttgart. The project, dubbed "Satellite," will consist of a 120-square-meter (1,290-square-foot) pavilion for exhibitions and concerts.
The technique creates structures "that change quite considerably, that require one to adapt. Their uses change constantly too," says Schwertfeger. "Each structure is a blend of fiction and reality," notes the doctoral candidate, quickly adding that: "In our case, the fiction component is relatively high."

It really doesn't get much greener than this; it just takes a long time to build an architectural career like this.


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