Friday, October 21, 2011
Visiondivision was invited as guest professors by Politecnico di Milano for their week-long workshop MIAW2.
The workshop, playing with the metaphor of forests, aimed to generate new visions to explain the contemporary and immediate future ways of being in the spirit of green design, resilience, recycling, and ethical consciousness.
Our intention with our project was to construct a study retreat at the campus with patience as the main key for the design. If we can be patient with the building time we can reduce the need for transportation, waste of material and different manufacturing processes, simply by helping nature grow in a more architectonic and useful way. The final result can be enjoyed at Politecnico di Milano in about 60 years from now.
Treetop level perspective
Ground level perspective
Initial sketch for workshop - section and project evolution
Plan ground level & treetop level
Initial sketch for workshop - ground level
During the workshop we gave nature all the guidance and directions to help it grow into useful structures and objects.
There are different methods and tools to guide and control the growth of trees and plants; bending, twisting, pruning, grafting, braiding, weaving and to control the amount of water and light the trees get are just some examples of these.
We used almost all of these techniques in our creation, which involved creating a structural system for the building and also stairs and furnitures, all made out of trees, plants or grass.
Project components - structure, some of the furnitures and the stairs
Different techniques for guiding the trees
Our structural frame for this project became ten japanese cherry trees that was planted in a circle with a diameter of eight meters with a six meter high temporary wood structure in the center that is acting as a guidance tower for the growing structure.
The trees were planted with an equal spacing from each other, except for four of them that became two pairs of stairs to the future upper level.
The cherry trees was ideal to plant at that time of year and also had great features for achieving the desired structure.
Thin ropes were tied around the plants and were slightly bent towards the temporary tower.
As time passes the trees will form a dome when they reach the tower, and then designated by to change its direction so the final form will be an hourglass, a suiting shape for the project and also a very practical form as we now have two rooms with different modes in the building.
Planting the trees and initial guidance of the stairs
Tree guidance and stairs
The temporary tower for guiding the building
The temporary tower and growth diagram
The small branches on the plants that will grow into stairs are guided with wires to each other and will hopefully be useful later on. The rest of the stairs can later be grafted in the stair trees.
On the ground level we designed furniture out of grass, trees and plants.
There are a dining group consisting of a table with four chairs.
The chairs are plum trees where one sit at the lowest fork and the branches are guided into canopies so the future visitor can sit in the chair while at the same time eating delicious fruits.
The dining furnitures; four plum trees and a hedra table
The table is made out of slender wooden pieces with strings in the structure, which forms a skeleton where hedras can grow and later take over the structure completely.
A comfortable chair made out of grass are located on the other side of the ground floor.
The grass chair is put together with the use of a custom made cardboard structure, shaped for maximal relaxation and that is painted with a protection coating and that is later filled with soil on site and draped with grass.
'The grass armchair with the structural cardboard frame
A grass puff is also made and placed in the tower where the floor of the upper level will be.
The puff is a big potato bag filled with straw, soil, fertilizer and grass seed.
An organic rope is placed with a third of its length inside the bag, and the bag is later sewn together.
The rest of the rope is placed in water so the puff gets water and will later be covered in grass, so when the trees finally reaches this level and becomes the floor, it will already be furnished.
The puff - soil, straw, grass seed and rope in a potato bag
Together with the students we worked out a maintenance plan and instructions to future gardeners that is simple enough to actually work.
On the structure, we instructed that a pattern of wood will be grafted in, leaving two spaces between the trees as entries/exits and the rest is closed in ornamental patterns with branches.
On the upper level which is reached by the two staircases with exquisite handrails, is different fruit trees grafted into the cherry trees so the visitor can have a variety of fruits while relaxing in the canopy. Branches are also grafted in for security reasons between the tree trunks.
In about 80 years from now the Politecnico di Milano campus will have a fully grown building and the students will hopefully have proud grandchildren that can tell the story of the project for their friends and family.
General view of fully grown project
Upper level and ground level of fully grown structure
The end of the workshop and the beginning of
Many thanks to our excellent students:
Mohyedin Navabzadeh Navabi
Giuseppe Maria Palermo
and thanks to the curators:
and the organizers:
Luca Maria Francesco Fabris
and all the other people at Politecnico di Milano that we came in contact with during the workshop.
See you in 60 years from now.