Bananas About Bananas

Bananas are the 4th most important crop after rice, wheat and corn. 135 countries grow bananas producing 145 million tonnes per year. The banana industry is worth 52 billion dollars and 400 million people rely on the crop as a staple food or stable source of income. These high figures of production and the aim of producing bananas as cheap as possible for high profits means poor working conditions for workers and a lot of waste. There is a great potential in banana waste i.e. the pseudo-trunk, to be used as an extra source of income by making textiles or using it as a building material.

Banana Plant | Musa

The banana fruit
Section through the fruit

Statistics

Production

Growing

Growth Cycle

Telescopic Growth

The Pseudo-trunk

Geometrical analysis of the pseudo-trunk

Otherwise known as the pseudo-stem or ‘false trunk’, the trunk of the banana tree is in fact made out of tightly packed leaves. The cells shown in the cross section transport all the nutrients and water from the earth to the rest of the plant. At the moment, the pseudo-trunk is waste product to the banana industry. It is a heavily un-utilised resource that can be used to make textiles or bio-fuel.

Form experimenting of the pseudo-trunk structure using paper made from banana

Using the pseudo-trunk waste for useful materials

By-products of the pseudo-trunk
Fibrous strands from inside to trunk
Mechanical fibre extraction process
By products of the banana pseudo-trunk: fibre, yarn and fabric. All 100% banana fibre.

Banana Rope (Manila Rope)

Banana rope has been used historically for things such as ship lines, towing, climbing and landscaping. Manila rope gets its name from the capital of the Philippines, Manila, as a lot of the rope is made there.

The rope is flexible yet non-stretching, durable and resistance to salt water damage. For these reasons its a common choice for ship lines, fishing nets and decorative purposes. It’s used in gyms due to its ability to absorb sweat and therefore act as a good grip.

Weaving techniques using banana rope and yarn
Structure made from weaved banana rope and banana yarn

The Petal Hypothesis

The petal has long been a surround for the reproductive parts of the flower, its varied forms and designs attract numerous species of animals and insects, enabling its existence to grow and spread. As a result, the petal will not only encounter pollen of its own species, but also that of many differing plants.

Taking people as the pollen. This caravanserai will attract people both day and night, providing a space for play and discussion, encouraging communication, observation and interaction.1.1 model an aerial planThe Petal Hypothesis sits expressively within its setting. Exposing the raw structure of the plywood ‘petals by day and revealing the elaborate display of the EL wires by night.

Configured in a circular array, each ‘petal’ is construct from just two ‘pods’ which in themself only take 1 sheet of plywood to construct. Connected together to generate one ‘2d’ curve, the end points then bend around to complete the monocoque structure.

These pods are then mirrored to generate the ‘petal’ form and anchored to the ground. The act of fixing the extreme widths and mirroring the pods minimises the natural flex within the ‘pod’ and enables it to be a strong physical structure.

In place of the EL wires, a cloth stress skin has been incorporated to the top tier of petals. This not only provides shading during the day but also absorbs the light from the EL wires and distributes it across the whole surface.sequential diagrams

The Petal Hypothesis 1:20 ModelInteractivity:

Observe – Sit around and within the ‘petals’ to observe the activities at its centre.

Inhabit – Climb the structure and occupy one of the many vantage points within the ‘petals’

Connect – Share memories and congregate either on mass at its centre or privately within the petals

Night Render

DIVA and Work by Jeff Niemasz

LMN Architect has just published a review of the DIVA plugin for Grasshopper. 

DIVA uses Radiance, a free environemtal simulation software which you can download and install to run alongside Ecotect.

Radiance is more precise than Ecotect and can be used for Daylight studies, producing extremely accurate renders.

DIVA was written by Jeff Niemasz, a Harvard GSD student, as part of his masters project on re-visiting the aqua tower by Studio Gang.

You can register to the DIVA for Grasshopper group on the forum and follow the tutorial on installation (See videos below).

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/29811576]

 

 Above: Portfolio page from Green Re Articulates Red, my diploma project at the AA

 

 Above: Simulation Matrix from LMNTS using DIVA for Grasshopper