Plantware's Eco-Architecture To "Grow Your Own" Homes

plantware home eco-architechture image

A bus stop that grows its own foliage as shade? A children’s playground, made entirely from trees? A shelter made from living tree roots that could provide natural protection against earthquakes in California?

“Eco-architecture” may sound like a Buck Rogers vision of an ecologically-sustainable future, but that future is now thanks to the guidance of Tel Aviv University Professors Yoav Waisel and Amram Eshel. The concept of shaping living trees into useful objects known as tree shaping, arborsculpture, living art or pooktre isn’t new. But scientists are now ready to use this concept as the foundation of a new company that will roll out these structures worldwide.

Pilot projects now underway in the United States, Australia and Israel include park benches for hospitals, playground structures, streetlamps and gates. “The approach is a new application of the well-known botanical phenomenon of aerial root development,” says Prof. Eshel. “Instead of using plant branches, this patented approach takes malleable roots and shapes them into useful objects for indoors and out.”

A Scientific and Commercial Partnership

The original “root-breaking”research was conducted at the Sarah Racine Root Research Laboratory at Tel Aviv University, the first and largest aeroponics lab in the world. Founded by Prof. Waisel 20 years ago, the lab enables scientists to conduct future-forward and creative research that benefits mankind and the environment.

plantware homes trees image

Commercial applications of the research are being developed by Plantware, a company founded in 2002. TAU and Plantware researchers working together 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.

Video concept of Plantware building a playground

An Eco-Positive Abode

It’s even possible that, in the near future, entire homes will be constructed with the eco-friendly technology. An engineer by trade, Plantware’s CEO Gordon Glazer hopes the first home prototype will be ready in about a decade. While the method of “growing your own home” can take years, the result is long lasting and desirable especially in the emerging field of green architecture.

Prof. Eshel’s team is also working on a number of other projects to save the planet’s resources. They are currently investigating a latex-producing shrub, Euphoria tirucalii, which can be grown easily in the desert, as a source for biofuel; they are also genetically engineering plant roots to ensure “more crop per drop,” an innovative approach to irrigation.

Green Prophet loves innovative sustainable design. See:
Ten Israeli Designers Who Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Building Green: Jerusalem’s First Sustainable Housing Project
Israel’s First Green Apartment Building
Natural Building: A Womb With a View

(Image credit: Dr. Mitchell Joachim, Terreform 1.)

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2 thoughts on “Plantware's Eco-Architecture To "Grow Your Own" Homes”

  1. kyle says:

    I was looking up eco homes and i never expected to see this. I looked at the picture, It looked like something out of a science fiction magazine. examining it i realized it would be entirely possible. I read over the page I think its a great idea but what happenes when the trees grow to become too big? or when the trees die?
    I was just thinking about designing a house that ran solar but this got my attention i really like the aeroponic tecnology and what it can do for our future.
    Im twenty years old and all i can think about is green. I have so many great ideas and a good philosophy, but no direction.

  2. Meli says:

    The home design above is called: “Fab Tree Hab”, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 by
    Team H.E.D. [Human Ecology Design]
    Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D.
    Lara Greden, Ph.D.
    Javier Arbona, M.S.

    please see: http://www.archinode.com/bienal.html

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