Nature and Technology: Walls That Can Grow Plants


Cortesia de E. Baharlou

The relationship between architecture and nature is complex. If, on the one hand, we enjoy framing nature as art in our homes; on the other hand, we try at all costs to avoid the presence of obstructive “real” nature in our walls and structures, which can be damaged by roots and leaves. At the same time, we use green roofs, vertical gardens and flower boxes to bring cities closer to nature and improve people’s wellbeing; but we also construct buildings with materials that are completely dissociated from fauna and flora. Although the advancement of biomaterials and new technologies is gradually changing this, we should nevertheless ask ourselves whether the structures and buildings we occupy need to be separated from the nature that surrounds them. This was the question that led researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA) to develop geometrically complex 3D-printed soil structures on which plants could grow freely.

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