Regenerative urban Arcology, hosting life, work and leisure, inspired by willow rod research and testing
Regenerative Urban Arcology
An attempt to reconnect people in the city with nature and the process of growing our own food while adopting alternative sustainable construction methods through a modular mycelium approach.
At the start of the year, coupled with Grasshopper training we will be looking at lattices as a granular spatial organising principle. From molecular systems to quasi-crystals, nature organizes itself through space efficient, resilient and complex arrangements.
Brief 01: 3D Lattices/ Urban Crystallography & Self-Sufficient Bio-Machines:
At the start of the year, coupled with Grasshopper training we will be looking at lattices as a granular spatial organising principle. From molecular systems to quasi-crystals, nature organizes itself through space efficient, resilient and complex arrangements. We would like to start the year with a study of all these three-dimensional systems as an exercise to understand the many ways structures can be arranged in space. Using timber struts and nodes, or surfaces and hinges, whether defining space packing volumes or porous three dimensional grid shells, the modularity of the systems allows us to work at all scales. However for the first brief we expect you to design and build a self-sufficient small scale bio-machine interacting with the given sites. Like a tree absorbing carbon whilst creating timber and fruits, your architectural system will be a blend of technology and nature in the urban context.
Brief 02: Eco-Parametric Urban Infrastructures to combat climate change
Nature does not make waste, everything is reused and feeds back into the system. DS10 will learn from this by applying the principles of permaculture, regenerative agriculture and renewable energy generation to propose Eco-Parametric Urban Infrastructures. You will design and test large scale infrastructures tightly interwoven into and above the urban fabric of London’s train tracks which immersively integrate nature into the city using your 3D lattices as a reference. We are seeking new architectural ideas which address energy needs in the age of the circular economy. Your mixed use infrastructure will create energy and deal with its waste to close the loop whilst helping people live better and healthier lives and create an economy in the process. Proposals may include self sufficient communities and economies, cradle to cradle business ideas, inhabited bridges forging connections between different sides of the tracks and structures which actively contribute to the area such as carbon capture devices, solar collectors, pollution scrubbers etc,
Site: The underused spaces over the existing railway tracks of central London will form the foundations for exciting large scale mixed use structures, creating new connections and a new hyper dense and hyper sustainable urban fabric.
Output: Rather than a traditional paper portfolio we will focus on digital representation techniques such as animations, high quality digital renders which explain the process of your work. You will become a member of the WeWantToLearn.net community (1.7 million viewers) sharing your research and studio submissions to inspire and contribute to the wider design community. Blog posts will form part of your portfolio submission.
ECO PARAMETRIC YOUTUBE CHANNEL:
Is waste the future?
With climate change and the world turning to new sustainable alternatives of producing energy and recycling materials, we as designers should be thinking of new ways of reusing waste and using resources available to us. Human waste has many uses and should not just be flushed down the toilet and sent away to the sewers. It should be returned back to the soil with all it’s nutrients to help grow food, instead of the use of chemical fertilisers.
Both urine and faeces are useful resources in their own ways but have to be separated out. I have designed a toilet and system which splits the two.
Human excrement if kept in anaerobic conditions in a sealed container will start to produce methane. The higher the temperature, the faster the material decomposes, and the higher the rate of production of methane gas. This methane can be used as an energy source.
Urine can be diluted to make a natural fertiliser which should be applied directly to the root system of the plant. It is best to do this immediately or within 24 hours to ensure that ammonia is not released which causes it to smell. However animals will be able to detect the smell and hence it acts as a natural animal repellent.
Urine fertiliser is particularly beneficial for plants which require a lot of nitrogen to grow like tomato plants.
I was inspired by the unusual, striking form and scale of the baobab trees, native to Africa. They are sometimes referred to as “the upside down tree”. They swell up drawing in all the water they can, storing it inside their trunk like a water tank, to ensure they will survive in the dry months.
I explored ways of achieving this swelling geometry on Grasshopper, and used the plugin called Fattener to grow the shape in different areas, controlled by separate parameters.
I then unravelled this radial shape, and tested other options to see which one received the most sunlight all year round.
The toilet pods needed to have the right balance between privacy for the users, and receiving the most sunlight for the tomatoes. I used expressions on Grasshopper to cull the faces of the mesh in a certain way to make sure the parts of the pods that you could see into were made from timber, and the other parts would be made from bio-polycarbonate to let in sunlight for the tomatoes.
Instead of this stepped geometry achieved from culling faces, I added veining with the new Rhino 7 multipipe tool and separated the geometry this way.
Using the plugin Anemone with Grasshopper, I analysed the how the rain would fall on the pods and the overhang to collect rainwater to mix with the urine to then fertilise the tomato plants.
HORTICULTURAL HERITAGE, INHABITED
Plant rich diets & agroforestry are methods to reverse global warming from Drawdown. This project returns Plant Trade heritage to Docklands through Wardian Terrariums, self-sustaining microclimates that aid plant growth from all hemispheres. Fruit, veg & herbs are home grown within high-rise greenspaces. Inspired by the photosynthetic properties of coral, the buildings plants grow symbiotically with controlled levels of sunlight, energy, temperature & moisture.
SITE: DOCKLANDS, LONDON
Rotherhithe has been selected as the site for brief 1, with Beckton as the site for brief 2. Both sites are located in Docklands.
Rotherhithe, South west London, is currently under planning with proposals to build a multi-use housing development around the gasometer. In 2019, the Rotherhithe Gas Holder company opened a temporary Hub to receive resident feedback for the planned development. Lots of feedback was in relation to the heritage of Rotherhithe, with residents requesting the history of the site is maintained and celebrated.
The name ‘Rotherhithe’ derived from the Latin translation of ‘Landing place’, as it was part of the Docklands trade, with raw materials and goods being imported to the site via ships from around the world. The proposed artefact re-creates native climates from all hemispheres for native & imported plants that grow herbs, fruits, spices and botanicals.
Rotherhithe Warehouse, 1960
THE CLIMATE CRISIS: CORAL REGENERATION
Taking inspiration from the death of a coral skeleton after bleaching, the artefact is based on a replicated ‘mesh’ aspect of strong and resilliant branching coral.
Taking the resillience of a coral mesh, I have experimented on Grasshopper with different methods of creating the initial design concepts of my artefact. The mesh will act as a supportive shell, with plants integrated throughout.
MESH TO STRUCTURE
The Grasshopper experiments are transformed into various containers based on the concept of Wardian Cases, providing various moisture, light and temperature conditions for each individual plant.
HERITAGE, HORTICULTURE & HYPERBUILDS
Reviving the Docklands Plant Trade heritage through Wardian Cases
This project celebrates our scientific movements away from the industrial era through our ability to re-create self-sustaining climates for plants.
The discovery of the Wardian Case- the original terrarium, demonstrates a simple yet powerful ability to re-create its own self-sustaining climate, allowing biodiversity to grow & thrive. Docklands was the largest importer of raw materials including plants, herbs, fruits, veg & many more in the world.
‘Bio’, with the latin meaning ‘organic life’, is becoming increasingly considered through trends such as biophilia, biomimicry and biomorphism. The Biosphere (Earth), must have such trends prioritised at the forefront of design in order to help keep our planet inhabitable. Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, is an intricately researched document on our top 100 most effective methods of reducing and reversing the climate crisis The document covers all issues concerning global warming from family planning/population control to refridgeration, plant-based diets, and organic material usage. Some of the most effective topics have been applied to my proposal are:
• Regenerative farming
• Plant rich diets
• Educating girls
• Solar energy
• Mass organic food production
The fully self-sustaining multi-functional arcological hyper building incorprates public spaces such as horticultural education, plant nurseries & labs that breed native & endangered plants, & informative public exhibitions, along with residential sectors that offer organic food farming inspired by the Wardian Case Terrariums.
Drawdown summarises ways to help reverse global warming. Regenerative farming, plant rich diets, biodiversity & permacultire are some Drawdown methods that I have incorprated into my project. Below is a full list of the methods I have included, and individual summaries of why these methods have been incorprated into my residential biodiverse tower.
A man-made cocoon woven from biodegradable rope material inspired by
the weaving of silkworms. It can be constructed in any softwood tree that
is strong enough and that has a convenient distribution of branches. The
tree is scanned and converted into a 3D model where a custom cocoon design
is created. The cocoon is both lightweight and strong as it is a tensile
structure (secondary structure) wrapping around a tree (primary structure).
It aims to bring people from the city closer to nature.
Trees & Humans
The following images will introduce my artefact into wider context. There are two possible scenarios, which could benefit from my artefact, one of which will be further developed in the upcoming term:
1) forest bathing as a way to for the human to reconnect with nature
2) rewilding as a way to both regenerate the land and human spirit
The aim of photogrammetry was to create the most realistic three-dimensional representation of a tree, which could then be incorporated into computational experiments making the design process much more efficient.
Photogrammetry generated about 60-70% of tree volume leaving out the detailed branches at the outer ends of the tree. 3D scanning would be a possible solution, however, unavailable at the moment.
Combining the Virtual and Real
3D-model of a real tree
wrapping/weaving around the 3D-model of a real tree virtually
Connecting points in space
This section of my portfolio focuses on exploring the ways in which points can be connected with strings – in both two and three dimensions. The gained knowledge from this section informed my virtual weaving experiments (previous section)
When connecting regular geometries, it is much easier to find the differences between different connection techniques. The result looks also much more organised and neat. However, what I am aiming to do is apply these connection techniques to irregular geometries of trees, which is a big challenge.
Wrapping & weaving around real trees
This part tracks my learning of the weaving behaviour of silkworms. I have done my own weaving experiments, both physical and virtual to try and understand how weaved tensile structures work. Going forward, I would like to incorporate some of the observed physical principles into my design (into the Grasshopper script).
How do natural structures and organisms interface with their environment? We seek an architectural language that relates to and speaks to the natural world rather than standing apart from it, by designing a performative urban modular Artefact that brings living nature into the city. The Artefact will be highly site specific, half man-made and half grown from nature.
Chosen Area of Interest – Fungi / Mycelium
Fungi absorb nutrients through vast underground networks of white branching threads called mycelium. Though hidden in the soil and sometimes mistaken for roots, mycelium is actually the proper body of a fungus. Mushrooms are the fruit, appearing only when conditions for spreading their spores are just right.
Mycelium plays a vital role in the decompositon of plant material but also can form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of certain plants, called mycorrhiza. Most plants depend on mycorrhiza to absorb phosphorus and other nutrients. In exchange, fungi gain constant access to the plants carbohydrates. Often, neither the mushroom nor the plant will grow without a mycorrhizal partner.
“Now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive & sustainable cities.” António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
We are very excited to be back for a new year. This year our brief is focused on Arcology, a term coined by Paolo Soleri which is the combination of Architecture and Ecology. Below is a few links describing the year ahead:
The DS10 A4 brief
The DS10 Diploma Studio Presentation
Sustainability first! DS10 looks for novel solutions to sustainability issues in all its forms. We are interested in realistic and efficient buildings that contribute to a more sustainable society. We value digital exploration on the threshold between structure and biophilic ornament, coupled with thorough material testing DS10 believe that architecture should be joyful and that architects should think like makers and act like entrepreneurs. We like physical experiments tested with digital tools, for analysis, formal generation and fabrication.