We love treehouses here at Inhabitat, and are enamored with eco-architect Mitchell Joachim’s visionary ideas about how to grow living treehouses from ficus molded around frame structures. We’ve covered these brilliantly playful architectural ideas before on Inhabitat, but now we have a video from Mitchell Joachim explaining the details of how they work. Joachim does much better justice to his future-forward ecological designs than we are able to do in a mere post, so if you have any interest in living treehouses (and we know you do), check out this fascinating video above.
Inspired by the ecocentric attitudes of such beloved American nature-lovers as Thoreau, Emerson, Whitman and Alcott, three MIT designers – Mitchell Joachim, Lara Greden and Javier Arbona designed this living treehouse in which the dwelling itself merges with its environment and nourishes its inhabitants. Fab Tree Hab dissolves our conventional concept of home and establishes a new symbiosis between the house and its surrounding ecosystem.
In order to build the arboreal frame, the designers utilize “pleaching” – a gardening technique in which tree branches are woven together to form living archways. Trees such as Elm, Live Oak and Dogwood bear the heavier loads, while vines, branches and plants form a lattice for the walls and roof of the house. The interior structure is made of cob (clay and straw), a tried and true green building approach, that lends itself to customized shaping of walls and ceilings.
The trees that form the frame and the plants that grow on the external walls are meant to provide sustenance for the inhabitants and other living creatures who interact with the structure. On this level, the designers aim to demonstrate that natural building materials, when utilized in their living state, can create a “superstructure” that is biologically pure and contains no unknown substances. They point out that new building materials, even those that champion sustainability, are nevertheless industrially manufactured and contain components that are not fully understood in terms of their longterm impact.