The Palm Arms


Palm trees are angiosperms, which means flowering plants. They are monocots which means their seeds produce a single, leaf-like cotyledon when they sprout. This makes palms closely related to grasses and bamboo.

Palm Tree
Components of Palm Trees
Growth and Decay
Palm Growth and Decay Process
Palm Tree Information
Palm Tree Information

Mimicking the Geometry

This mature palm shows how the pattern originally seen in the young plant, forms a distinct mathematic pattern known as ‘Phyllotaxis’. This is a pattern with reoccurs throughout nature and is based on the Fibonacci sequence. In order to try to understand the use and formation of the palm fibre, the overall formation of the palm stem needed to be mathematically explored.

However, redrawing the cross-section of the base of the palm plants allows a better understanding of the arrangement of the palm plant.

Frond Arrangement
Palm Frond Arrangement

This exercise allows models to be made to recreate the patterns found in palm plants. By engineering plywood components, the basic shape of the palm geometry can be made into a physical model.

Palm Base Model
Re-creating Palm Base

This was pushed further by curving the plywood components to make extruded palm structure models

Palm Structure Model
Extended Palm Structure Model
Palm Structure Model
Three-Dimensional Palm Model

The arrayed components can then be altered so that the base of the models form regular polygon shapes. Doing this allows the potential for the structures to be tesselated. Using different numbers of components mean the structure can then be tested for strength.

Tessellation Models
Tessellation Models

Palm Wine

There are hundreds of used for palm fruits, this the plant producing materials which range from durable, to flexible to edible. One of the more interesting ones if the production of palm wine using the sap from the tree. Within 2 hours of the wine tapping process, the wine may reach up to 4%, by the following day the palm wine will become over fermented. Some prefer to drink the beverage at this point due to the higher alcohol content. The wine immediately begins fermenting, both from natural yeast in the air and from the remnants of wine left in the containers to add flavour. Ogogoro described a ‘local gin’, is a much stronger spirit made from Raffia palm tree sap. After extraction, the sap is boiled to form steam, which is then condensed and collected for consumption. Ogogoro is not synthetic ethanol but it is tapped from a natural source and then distilled.

To understand the fermentation process more clear, the process of fermenting sugar to make wine has been undertaken.

Palm wine tasting
Testing Palm Wine

Alternative Fuel

The distillation of the wine can be used to make bio-ethanol. This production of this fuel can act as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel energy, which is overused and damaging to our environment.

How Much Energy?

Future Proposal

The developed structure, as well as the production of palm wine and bio-ethanol, can be collaborated to develop a programme, which provides sustainable energy, within a space that is inviting and exciting.

The production of bio-fuel releases a lot of carbon dioxide. In order to ensure the process does not impact the environment, this needs to occur inside a closed system, so the CO2 does not enter the atmosphere. This can be done by using the properties of a Solar Updraft Tower. Carbon dioxide released from the fermentation and distillation processes can be received by palm trees for increased photosynthesis, while the excess oxygen from the trees provides fresh air for visitors.


Solar Updraft Tower Implementation
Form 01 – Solar Updraft Tower Implementation


The fermentation process can be controlled within an isolated area of the model.

Fermentation Implementation
Form 02 – Fermentation Implementation


The Distillation process, which requires a store of water for cooling, can also be conducted in an isolated area of the model, with apparatus incorporated into the structure.

Distillation Implementation
Form 03 – Distillation Implementation


The final proposal will be a combination of all three forms



Fractured Cosmos

Truth is a personal conquest which one attains through a mystery.

The Burning Man festival has evolved from a simple gathering of people on a beach in San Francisco into a spectacular spectacle. Burners travel from all over the world to meet in the Black Rock desert of Nevada where they form a city of temporary structures and burn a huge towering figure of a man. The theme of the 2017 burning man event will be Radical Ritual, an attempt to reinvent ritual in our post-post-modern world disregarding assertions of belief and concentrating instead on the immediate experience of play. Fractured cosmos seeks to provide this year’s burners with an edible artwork experience in the playa, a crystalline structure made from hard boiled sugar candy.


Fractured Cosmos draws the inspiration for its form from the Shri Yantra Mandala, a mystical diagram used in the Shri Vidya school of Hindu Tantra. The diagram, nine Isosceles triangles interlaced to form 43 smaller triangles, is said to be symbolic of the entire cosmos. The geometry of this symbol, usually depicted as a flat, two-dimensional construct, has been inclined, distorted and fractalized out of its two-dimensional plane to create a series of inclined planes for Burners to inhabit and play within.



Those cultures which meditate using the Shri Yantra symbol believe life exists between two planes, that of Samsara, this earth plane, and Nirvana, a perfect heavenly plane. One transcends from Samsara to Nirvana when they have gained enough genuine insight into impermanence and non-self reality. This notion has been reinterpreted as a series of transparent colourful planes on the playa, casting colourful light onto the ground beneath our feet. Each of the planes will be made from coloured rock candy, offering burners the opportunity to perceive an altered sweeter perspective of the world, as well as a delicious treat if they’re brave enough to lick it.

Hard Boiled Candy Planes.png

The use of hard boiled candy as the structural material for the pavilion means the structure will be made by mixing sugar, liquid glucose and Creme de Tartar with water. This concoction will be boiled to a temperature of 145 degrees celsius before pouring into formwork to cure. Waterproof LED lights will be added once the liquid has cooled to a sufficient temperature, and these will be used to light the structure at night.


The plinth of Fractured Cosmos must be strong enough to support the weight of the candy structure above plus the added weight of any burners, tie the structure down, capture any waste which falls off the structure as it is consumed and house the power source for the night time lighting. This has been designed using the same method of recursion as the candy structure to create a plinth using the mandala’s cosmic gate element as its inspiration. the final form generates a climbable podium for burners to ascend before inspecting and consuming.