NYU architecture professor and TED Fellow Mitchell Joachim shares his concepts for earth-friendly next-gen urban human habitats over on Ideas.Ted.com.
Founder of the Terreform ONE a multidisciplinary think tank working at the intersection of design, engineering and synthetic biology, Joachim believes that if we want a sustainable future, architecture and nature have to be fully and holistically integrated. Some designs take inspiration from the past, like the Fab Tree Hab (pictured) which uses the ancient tradition of pleaching, weaving living trees to form a home-grown, living, breathing home - this one with a few mod cons. Others are pure science fiction (although, as he points out, 'if we didn't have Star Trek, we wouldn't have smartphones').
Vegetarians may baulk at the meat house, constructed from lab-grown pig cells - no animals harmed, but Joachim thinks that synthetic biology and tissue engineering could provide superior construction materials. And he doesn't believe we should be eating the kind of meat that's included in typical western diets anyway, because of the amount of water, fertiliser and food that's involved in raising cows and pigs (not to mention the methane they release), so he's also designed a Cricket Shelter, a modular farm for growing tasty insects. Apparently, by farming crickets, we can get the same amount of protein as we get from cows and do so using only 2% of the land.
Don't expect to see a meat house on a street near you anytime soon, but the ideas do feed the imagination. 'The greatest architects and designers that interest me are the ones that had works that couldn’t be built in their times, yet are in every history book of architecture,” says Joachim.
Read the full article and see other examples at Ideas.Ted.Com site, or better still, explore the latest thinking in ecological design and geo-engineering in Mitchell Joachim's latest book, XXL-XS: New Directions on Ecological Design.