Grow Your Second Home

Designers plant the seeds for a high-tech version of the Swiss Family Treehouse. Click inside for video

by Graham Murdoch

Take a look inside the grow-your-own treehouse. Also, see video below.Graham Murdoch

If solar power and recycled building materials just aren´t green enough for you, the brains behind the Fab Tree Hab might have the perfect pad. Architects Mitchell Joachim and Javier Arbona, along with environmental engineer Lara Greden, have designed a house that will grow from a few seedlings into a two-story, water-recycling, energy-efficient abode. The Fab Tree Hab,
a mix of ancient and ultramodern technology, isn´t
merely environmentally friendly. It is the environment.

Instead of building a home out of green materials, the trio figured, why not construct a living, breathing house? â€Something that´s alive and thriving,†Joachim says. They hope to plant the first house within five years, but for now, they´re working with Israeli arboriculture firm Plantware, testing techniques for growing the lattice-like weave of vines and roots that will form the walls.

Despite its odd exterior, the house will look normal on the inside. The walls, packed with clay and plastered over, will keep out the rain, and modern technology will be welcome. Yet there are still a few practical kinks to work out. Joachim wonders, for example, how a planning board will react to a house that constantly expands.

Each house will take at least five years to grow, depending on the climate, but Joachim envisions the structures being grown and tended to on a farm. Customers could pick a finished tree habitat and then have it transported to and replanted on a lot within 100 miles. Here, a look inside and out at what´s sure to be the greenest house on the block.

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