Some might think metropolitan living means you can’t commune with nature, but designers Raynaldo Theodore, Maria Vanessa, Rama Dwi Wahyu, and Edwin Indera Waskita’s Self-Healing House shatters that misconception. The project transforms barrier-like walls into a scaffolding for plants, mosses, and birds to mingle with the human residents inside. By encouraging the growth of plant life, birds are lured to the spot and deposit seeds for more greenery to grow. The result is a space that perfectly unifies nature and modern living.
The proposal would create a balanced symbiosis with the surrounding natural world while providing housing for those in the world’s busiest cities. The team created the concept for neighborhoods in Jakarta, Indonesia that suffer with substandard living conditions. Homes in the Kampung Pulo area of Jakarta, along the Chiliwung River, can be cramped, uncomfortable and unsafe. They can also lack reliable electricity, clean water and access to fresh food. The proposal tackles this issues by turning squalor-like conditions into a symbiotic, safe space.
The “Self-Healing” home features an exterior “ecological skin”. This skin is created using palm fiber, normally a waste product, to create a medium in which seeds can take sprout and grow. These plants are then attract birds, which will come and build nests underneath the roof, which is designed to accommodate them. The plants also absorb carbon, while providing clean oxygen for the home’s inhabitants. Home dwellers can harvest bird eggs from the nests for food, along with the plants.
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For the hard structure of the home, bio-concrete will be used. This self-healing bio-concrete is able to filter air and water, creating a healthy space for the home’s inhabitants. Solar panels on top of the roof provide reliable electricity, while an open-water reservoir on another part of the roof collects rainwater. Skywalks connect the buildings so that city-dwellers can have a safe way to travel from one part of the neighborhood to another. But beyond providing better living conditions, the design also encourages community cohesion. Community participation is required both in the initial phase and ongoing to maintain the homes.
The Self-Healing House is a demonstration of how buildings can become living structures to work within a bigger system of interconnectedness. Instead of fighting to widen the divide between human homes and the rest of the outside environment, it serves as an example of how we can embrace our deep ties to the natural world. The project wowed judges as a winner in the Biodesign Competition’s Housing Category.
Images via Raynaldo Theodore, Maria Vanessa, Rama Dwi Wahyu, and Edwin Indera Waskita