The ultimate in green living is almost here. Think bus shelters, street lamps, and even houses -- all grown from trees. The process of shaping living trees to create objects, referred to as arborsculpture and pooktre, is well known among hobbyists (a simple Web search shows plenty of results for the art form). Now, researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University are teaming up with eco-living company Plantware to create commercial structures on a larger scale.
Expect to see results in the U.S., Australia, and Israel, where the joint team has set up eco-architecture projects to create civic amenities, including playgrounds, hospital benches, street lamps, and gates. Instead of shaping trees grown in soil and water to form these structures, the team will grow trees in the air, to create malleable "soft roots." This patented engineering technique will make it easier to build larger structures. How large? Possibly as big as an entire house. According to Plantware, it will be about a decade, though, before the first prototype of this green home appears. As we all know, trees don't just grow overnight.
This just shows how ignorant the world is becoming. What will be the considerations for: fire risk, infestation (bugs or fungi), insurance policy, remodeling/add-on for family growth, water needs, soil content, use of A/C or heat, fireplaces, your house absorbing oxygen at night.....The downside is far greater than the upside.
Brad, you're comment shows how arrogant and ridiculous you are. Do you really think you're the only person who has thought of the concerns you brought up? Do you really think you're so much smarter than the people who are actually working on this stuff?
The fact is, you don't know what you're talking about so you're really in no position to judge whether or not the downsides are greater than the upsides.
I totally agree with dontbother. People have already brought these concerns to the table and are going to work trying to fix them. I think this is a cool idea and if it works out great and if it doesn't work out, oh well. If humans can't live in them then see if they can do a fenced dog pen. That would free up some metal for the human race and possibly make products cheaper for a little while.
As far as the Infestation problems go, they could probably use genetic modification to make the trees produce some kind of pesticide harmless to humans, still the problems of running water and electricity, though that probably would be easily remedied. Soon we may be living like the elves in eldest....
Wow brad, cant even respond to you! Your comment made me laugh the whole way through!!! Is this now the era of people becoming 'affraid' of nature because they have been stuck in a city too long? Maybe for your 'add-on' problem people could purchase pre-grown additions and have them replanted by their home.... Just a thought.... Your other problems aren't problems worth addressing. HAHA!
why are people getting so heated over this? The idea of using genetically modified trees as architecture is impractical, even if it is a neat and romantic idea, and you're not "against nature" for thinking so. Especially if the best they're coming up with is using them for playgrounds and benches.... kids can play in non-genetically modified trees, and people can sit on stumps or old logs, which would be much cheaper and more eco-friendly, and a much better way to promote "natural" living (quicker, too).
It is unlikely that these trees would ever work as anything more than a novelty and art for the general public, and there is nothing wrong with that so calm down.
black_canary we value your opinion, and I'm glad it stays as such. To assume that this will be nothing more than a novelty or art form is quite a large generalization. There are too many people in this world to think nobody will want this for more use than a bench. If you re-read the article, you'll gain the knowledge that Universities and large company's are already showing interst for commercial use, yes beyond playgrounds. You think it's dumb, then I guess your not their target customer. More for us! P.s. Ever see the PopSci article on growing homes from a seed a couple years back? The idea has been around, which tells me it's not going anywhere, get over it.
Black_Canary: My issue with Brad's comment wasn't so much that he thought the idea was impractical. Personally, I feel the same way. I don't think we'll be living in trees or houses made from trees anytime soon. My problem was that his entire post was arrogant, rude, and disrespectful. It's one thing to disagree with the article, it's another thing to act like he knows what he's talking about when its obvious that he doesn't, and at the same time call everyone else ignorant.
We at Plantware are vividly aware of the difficulties that Brad has alluded to and are busy erecting and monitoring proof-of-concept and pilot projects in order to study, prioritize and solve problems that come part and parcel with new technology.
By and large, the plethora of tree species on earth have solved problems of pathogens, fire resistance, regrowth and branch shedding, structural integrity and other "problems" that could arise in adapting trees to human habitat. Trees have done this many times over in each seperate environment in which they occur. The difficult task for us - is to choose the correct species for our constructs and to ensure that it is not over represented by its human use in civil engineering.
Different species for different habitats makes sense. Trees with fire-proofing, beast. A lot of people don't know much about this topic (at least I don't) and I look forward to seeing such trees in parks and other places. It increases the chances for wildlife (especially birds and squirrels) to continue growing and makes the areas more pleasant to be in or about.
I think it can work out plus you can grow your own fruit. And we can just use solar panels for power human wast can give the plant nutrients and water some plants let ants live on them for protection. What if scintists can find a way to make plants glow in the dark we will not need light bulbs.
Well an obvious question for me is what happens when your house is grown,does it just stop there or keep on growing.Will I have to chainsaw my way out of the breakfast nook some day.It seems also that you would be hard pressed to grow something large enough to live in,in your life time.The only thing I can think of is the giant sequoya trees(however its spelled you know what I mean),and they take a few years to get that big I'm sure.It seems if you could produce a wood bearing plant that could grow fast enough that a person could order one,and in a reasonable amount of time move in,that it would many times easier to design it to grow in a nice square shape so we can quickly produce the neccessary lumber needed by our craftsmen to build a house when needed.If you want to get all evironmental about it just make the thing use a large percentage of carbon in its life cycle,and store it in the wood.Better yet make a tree that secretes two by fours out its back side every couple of minutes.
Well maybe we can try to use bamboo it grows fast and we could inject something to make it slow down the growing. But who now,s it could be dangerous.
@electrodynamic You've got me rolling on the floor laughing right now, especially about your question regarding chainsawing your way out of the breakfast nook. What makes it so funny is it seems like a really valid concern. I for one will stick with a more conventional house plan
Sign me up, I want my own "treehouse" to live in =P
but we can,t do all the things i said but we can use earth ships which use other things instead of wood They filter rain water uses solar panels and all the appliance are very energy efficient and the utility bill is 8% of what most people pay in America.
see arborsculpture, tree training, tree shaping
also agree with the earthship comment, for more go to earthship.com or offthegridbuild.com
our society really needs to realize we're not smarter or stronger than nature... things can be done differently
btw, for all those proponents of the conventional house do you realize all the harmful things that go into it?
watch this video www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-f3LeN7HYZI or read "cradle to cradle" you might be surprised.