To Grow a Building
Can you imagine a world in which the buildings around us will be 3D printed from living materials? Those buildings will germinate, bloom, wither, produce new kinds of material and will return back to the soil. To Grow a Building is a performative lab space that 3D prints - in real time - a live structure. It is a gate into a future world in which there are people who build buildings, and there are people who grow them.
In this project, a robotic arm is creating a building that was designed in a digital workflow. It’s a costume-made machine that can execute a complex task: 3D printing of a structure made of seeds and soil. How does it work? A structure and code were designed for the robot’s computer. The robot takes a mixture of soil and seeds which are used as a building material, 3D printing the mixture layer by layer, thus executing the digitally designed structure. After printing, the structure gets a life of its own: the seeds sprout and grow a green facade over the walls and inside them the dry roots - a new and strong material. Instead of buildings made out of concrete and steel, it will create architecture that is made out of local soil and roots as a structural elements.
The world is facing an ecological crisis, but the use of non-local and industrial materials is only increasing. To Grow a Building suggests a new approach to integrating flora into the design process, by developing a novel material for 3D printing, in which seeding is an inseparable part of the fabrication process.
Text submitted by the maker
Local Jerusalem soil, local Mediterranean seed, humus (fertiliser)
Commissioned for the Jerusalem Design Week, with the sponsorship of Rogovin Company
Dor Kedmi, Nof Nathansohn