During the week-long MIAW2 workshop by Politecnico di Milano, Visiondivision served as guest professors and worked closely with students to generate new ideas about the essence of green design in terms of, resilience, recycling, and ethical consciousness. For the workshop, the architects constructed a study retreat on campus where the final result can be enjoyed in 60 years. With patience as the main key for the design, “we can reduce the need for transportation, waste of material and different manufacturing processes, simply by helping nature grow in a more architectonic and useful way,” explained the architects.
More about the project after the break.
The project serves as a structural framework which nature can then slowly begin to take over. By using different methods and tools to guide and control the growth of nature – bending, twisting, pruning, grafting, braiding, weaving – the components of the building, from the structure to the stairs and furniture, will all be made from trees, plants or grasses.
Ten Japanese cherry trees provide the primary structure and are planted in a circle with a diameter of eight meters. A six meter high temporary wood structure was then constructed in the center which will serve as a guidance tower for the growing structure. Four of the trees will act as two pairs of stairs to the future upper level (the small branches on the plants that will grow into stairs are guided with wires to each other and will hopefully be useful later on. The rest of the stairs can later be grafted in the stair trees), and then ropes were tied around the plants and were slightly bent towards the temporary tower. On the structure, a pattern of wood will be grafted in, leaving two spaces between the trees as entries/exits and the rest is closed in ornamental patterns with branches. Time is an essential part of the project, for as the trees begin to grow, their branches will form a dome when they reach the tower, and then shift direction so the final form will be an hourglass.
As for furniture, on the ground level, the architects designed furniture out of grass, trees and plants, including a dining area featuring a table and four chairs. Plum trees will serve as the chairs and the branches are guided into canopies so the future visitor can sit in the chair while at the same time eating delicious fruits. The table is made out of slender wooden pieces with strings in the structure, which forms a skeleton where hedras can grow and later take over the structure completely.
We love the grass chair (which is constructed using a custom made cardboard structure, shaped for maximal relaxation and that is painted with a protection coating and that is later filled with soil on site and draped with grass) and the grass puff (a big potato bag filled with straw, soil, fertilizer and grass seed)! For the puff, an organic rope is placed with a third of its length inside the bag, and the bag is later sewn together. The rest of the rope is placed in water so the puff gets water and will later be covered in grass, so when the trees finally reaches this level and becomes the floor, it will already be furnished.
The architects created a maintenance plan with the students and instructions to future gardeners which as easy to follow. ”In about 80 years from now the Politecnico di Milano campus will have a fully grown building and the students will hopefully have proud grandchildren that can tell the story of the project for their friends and family,” explained Visiondivision.
Partners in charge: Anders Berensson & Ulf Mejergren
Curators: Laura Daglio & Oscar Bellini
Students/Architects/Builders: Rachele Albini, Giada Albonico, Jacopo Biasio, Sara Caramaschi, Elisa Carraro, Desislava Dimitrova, Cristina Gatti, Elisa Gulino, Mariya Hasamova, Nina Mikhailova, Ottavia Molatore, Joao Molinar, Azadeh Moradiasr, Mohyedin Navabzadeh Navabi, Giuseppe Maria Palermo, Riccardo Somaini, Bogdan Stojanovic
Organizers: Luca Maria Francesco & Fabris Efisia Cipolloni
Location: Politecnico di Milano
Project area: 50 sqm
Project year: 2011-2090