With its reliance on cars, propensity to sprawl out everywhere and annoying tendency to become storehouses of useless junk, suburbia is known to have a negative impact on the environment and on humanity in general. Fertile farmlands and forests are swallowed up by this beast, but it can change if we redefine our basic needs and what it means to live out of the city.
Instead of cookie-cutter homes in a monocultural wasteland, Danish design student Konrad Wójcik envisions a suburbia where people live in tree-like houses that blend right in with the forest, calling it a return to a "primeval symbiosis."
Supported by a single pole, much like a tree trunk, Wójcik's pine tree-shaped homes will accommodate anywhere from two to four people. According to FastCo.Exist, the four-floored dwellings would be outfitted with bio-digesters, heat pumps and a whole wall of solar panels to generate power, and they would be built with a timber frame, rather than with cement and steel. The intent is to reduce deforestation, and create homes with a low carbon footprint, which also have the possibility of being recycled or reused in the future.
Wójcik's inspiration comes from the inherent self-sufficiency of trees:
Like trees [the houses] feed from the sun and gather water to survive. Self-sufficient constructions that convert bio-waste into fertilizer, enrich the soil and get energy in return. The energy that is the infinite heat source, which can stabilize interior temperature. Having the structure like every other organism, which all organs are natural, even after it dies it could be used again. A simple circle of life.
To reduce the large environmental impact of a car-based suburban lifestyle, Wójcik's design is intended to be built within biking distance of the city, in some kind of forested area that still has access to roads. Though it makes sense from a sustainability point of view, whether this proposal would be feasible near most cities remains to be seen -- after all, it would be moot if there were no trees or if there were too many people vying for the same space. In any case, it's aimed squarely at "able-bodied people with an open mind," with Wójcik currently looking to partner up with interested developers.