Living-plant construction: Living architecture
This can also once again be experienced in the city if people feel they live in a treetop, for example."
The first hybrid projects using innovative plant-technical composite structures demonstrate how the breathing architectures can be integrated into our cities in the future. These include, for example, the architectural prototype Urban Micro Climate Canopy (UMCC). The project was developed by students at the Architecture Research Incubature of the TUM in cooperation with the Chair for Green Technologies in Landscape Architecture, the Chair for Building Technology and Climate-Friendly Building and FibR GmbH. It is a robotically-manufactured lightweight construction that can provide a better microclimate in our cities with climbing plants and mosses. "Here we leave a structure of resin-impregnated glass-fibre bundles covered with climbing plants, creating an artificial treetop three metres high. We use computer-aided simulation methods for the design, and robotics for the erection of the scaffolding."
However, purely plant-based architectural structures are also possible under certain conditions, as Ferdinand Ludwig explains further. "You have to focus precisely on the characteristics and needs of the organism in order to come up with plausible designs – although naturally a certain unpredictability remains. For this we need the collective knowledge from botany, forestry and horticulture. For example, what is the growth potential of the plant and how can we regulate it? For projects such as the Living-Plant Construction Tower or the Nagold Sycamore Cube we have, for example, joined several hundred young trees together in such a way that they grow into one unit. Only the lower trees were planted in the ground; the remaining trees are in special plant containers on several levels, supported by a temporary steel frame. The trunks of the trees were screwed to trunks on the upper level. Over time, the bark and the wood tissue will grow together and form a half-timbered trunk structure that is completely supplied with nutrients by the roots of the lower trees. Once it has become stable enough to support its own weight, the scaffolding is removed." Naturally there is always a risk with living buildings, because "everything that lives can die. However, the more the architectural design is oriented towards the natural growth pattern of the plants, the better. My goal here at the Chair of Green Technologies in Landscape Architecture is to better explore precisely these plant growth patterns and to develop new concepts and strategies for green architecture."
The artificial crown of the UMCC prototype was showcased in Frankfurt am Main during the Luminale and in Munich during the MCBW. The project is now being permanently set up on the test site of the campus in Weihenstephan.