Build with tree roots, watch your home grow

August 22nd, 2008 - 11:21 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 22 (IANS) A shelter made from living tree roots could protect one from earthquakes, or even help grow entire homes, thanks to eco-architecture, a concept being developed by Tel Aviv University.The idea of moulding trees into useful objects, known as arbour sculpture, will be used as a platform to roll out these structures worldwide.

Pilot projects now underway in the US, Australia and Israel include park benches for hospitals, playground structures, street lamps and gates.

“The approach is a new application of the well-known botanical phenomenon of aerial root development,” said Amran Eshel of Tel Aviv University. “Instead of using plant branches, this patented approach takes malleable roots and shapes them into useful objects for indoors and out.”

The original “root-breaking” research was conducted at the Sarah Racine Root Research Laboratory at the university, the first and largest aeroponics lab in the world.

Commercial applications are being developed. The researchers 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.

It’s even possible that, in the near future, entire homes will be built with the eco-friendly technology.

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