Holy crap! I just found my new dream home! The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a prototype tree house that is made of 100% LIVING components that, according to TreeHugger, will "circulate water and metabolic flows and would be fully integrated into an ecological community." It would be incredible to be completely sheltered and surrounded by nature every single day. Man, oh, man.
Here's how the MIT geniuses say this would work:
For more views of the prototype, watch this video.
The basic framework of the house would be created using a gardening method known as pleaching, in which young trees are woven together into a shape such as an archway, lattice, or screen and then encouraged to maintain that form over the years.
As the framework matured -- which might take a few years in tropical climates and several decades in more temperate locations -- the home grower would weave a dense layer of protective vines onto the exterior walls. Any gaps could be filled in with soil and growing plants to create miniature gardens. On the interior walls, a mixture of clay and straw beneath a final layer of smooth clay would provide insulation and block moisture. On south-facing walls, windows made of soy-based plastics would absorb warmth in the winter; ground-floor windows on the shady side could draw in cool breezes during hot months. Water collected on the roof would flow through the house for use by people and plants; wastewater would be purified in an outdoor pond with bacteria, fish and plants that consume organic waste.
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