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Generating Giant Sandstone Walls to Fight Desertification

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On May 6, 2009 @ 11:30 am In Design,Environment,global warming,Landscape Architecture | 5 Comments

saharades-ed01 [1]

Desertification [2], the degradation of land in arid areas, is a growing problem due to deforestation [3], fires, and climate change. Magnus Larsson, a student at London’s Architectural Association [4] has a drastic solution–a 6,000 km long wall of artificially solidified sandstone spanning the Sahara [5]Desert from east to west. Dunes [6]along Larsson’s sandstone wall will act as a combination of refugee housing [7]and a block against the desert.

The project, which won first prize last fall in the Holcim Foundation’s Awards for Sustainable Construction [8], proposes using bacillus pasteurii–a microorganism found in wetlands and marshes–to solidify loose sand [9]into sandstone. Larsson imagines that one day he could “force the grains of sand to align in certain patterns, certain shapes, having the wind blow out our voids, creating a structure [10]that would change and change again over the course of a decade, a century, a millennium.”

It’s a big departure from current anti-desertification [11]methods, including water conservation, soil management, forestry, sustainable energy, improved land [12]use, wildlife protection, poverty alleviation. Larsson believes that the interior of the dunes along his sandstone wall could be used to achieve multiple goals at once–helping soil remain fertile, providing water [13]and shade, and taking care of plants and animals.

If it is ever constructed, Larsson’s sandstone wall could support the Green [14]Wall Sahara initiative, which aims to plant a shelterbelt of trees across the African continent.

+ Holcim Foundation [15]


sandstone, wall, desert, green wall, green africa, desertification, climate change solutions, holcim foundation

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/giant-sandstone-wall-fights-desertification/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/?p=27468

[2] Desertification: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/03/30/rak-jebel-al-jais-resort-oma-architectur/

[3] deforestation: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/04/24/renovation-a-home-built-around-3-trees/

[4] London’s Architectural Association: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/

[5] Sahara : http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/09/04/sahara-forest-project/

[6] Dunes : http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/04/06/fosterpartners-sand-dune-inspired-uae-pavilion/

[7] housing : http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/05/30/zen-green-house/

[8] Holcim Foundation’s Awards for Sustainable Construction: http://www.holcimfoundation.org/T154/holcim_awards.htm

[9] sand : http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/05/09/norman-fosters-green-desert-utopia-in-dubai/

[10] structure : http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/03/11/sustainability-park-davis-brody-bond-architects/

[11] desertification : http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/10/23/desert-architecture-by-binary-design-studio/

[12] land : http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/04/28/aiacote-top-ten-green-building-projects-of-2008/

[13] water : http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/03/09/seawater-farming-solution-for-the-arid-emirates/

[14] Green : http://www.inhabitat.com/2005/11/18/desert-living-center/

[15] + Holcim Foundation: http://www.holcimfoundation.org/T865/A08AMng11.htm

[16] BLDGBLOG: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/sandstone.html

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