A Habitat for Humanity—And Plants and Animals, Too

June 07, 2024

Standing at 32 feet, Fab Tree Hab is an expansive open-air canopy with trees growing upward along cross-laminated timber scaffolding. Joachim began considering such a structure about 20 years ago following a prompt from Habitat for Humanity to submit innovative designs for suburban housing. This Earth Month, NYU News asked Joachim to tell us more about the principles behind Fab Tree Hab, which is expected to stand for 150-200 years, and the future of sustainable housing. The Fab Tree Hab project, which was initiated at MIT and later became associated with Terreform ONE, was born out of an eco-vision to create truly sustainable and biotech based living spaces. The idea was to use ancient techniques like pleaching—creating a lattice with living and dead branches—intertwining, and weaving, combined with modern fabrication technologies to guide the growth of living trees into the structures of homes.

Goodbye, brick and mortar. Hello, wood and jute!

As we try to imagine the future of sustainable architecture, an innovative structure in New Windsor, NY, composed of approximately 70 living willow trees offers a compelling example of what that could look like. Standing at 32 feet, Fab Tree Hab is an expansive open-air canopy with trees growing upward along cross-laminated timber scaffolding. The trees are bound by a natural fiber called jute to increase their strength as they grow. Throughout Fab Tree Hab are “pockets” that serve as micro-habitats in this larger ecosystem that serves as a terrestrial reef—a land structure similar to a coral reef that enables flora and fauna to pass through or establish homes.

This project is the creation of the nonprofit organization Terreform ONE, a team of architects, designers, and artists led by Gallatin Associate Professor Mitchell Joachim. Joachim began considering such a structure about 20 years ago following a prompt from Habitat for Humanity to submit innovative designs for suburban housing. Since its establishment in December 2023, it has housed diverse groups of animals—including bats, frogs, and turkeys—and has provided scholars and students with a space for research and observation.

This Earth Month, NYU News asked Joachim to tell us more about the principles behind Fab Tree Hab, which is expected to stand for 150-200 years, and the future of sustainable housing.

What sparked this endeavor, and how long did it take to build?

The Fab Tree Hab project, which was initiated at MIT and later became associated with Terreform ONE, was born out of an eco-vision to create truly sustainable and biotech based living spaces. The concept emerged from the desire to rethink traditional architecture and urban planning by integrating living ecosystems into a multi-species environment. The aim was to design homes that were not just in nature, but of nature, using living trees as the primary material to create a living, breathing structure that could coexist harmoniously with its surroundings.

The idea was to use ancient techniques like pleaching—creating a lattice with living and dead branches—intertwining, and weaving, combined with modern fabrication technologies to guide the growth of living trees into the structures of homes. The project started in 2002 and is now growing in a 10-acre lot next to Storm King Art Center in New York.

The source of this news is from New York University

Popular in Research

1

May 28, 2024

Can exams be shorter and better?

2

May 29, 2024

HKGAI Debuts Cutting Edge AI Projects at InnoEx 2024 | The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

3

May 28, 2024

Campus garden initiatives can help grow the next generation of environmental change-makers

4

May 28, 2024

Three NYU Faculty Awarded 2024 Guggenheim Fellowships

5

Jun 7, 2024

From ashes to adversity: Lessons from South Australia's business recovery amidst bushfires and pandemic

Record Share of U.S. Electorate Is Pro-Choice and Voting on It

2 days ago

LIVE: Cleanup begins after tornadoes, severe weather risk to linger through the weekend

2 days ago

Tabloid head wanted to 'protect' Trump from salacious stories

2 days ago

Foreign holdings of US Treasuries hit record high; Japan holdings rise, data shows

Jun 7, 2024

Cool Course: New York Underground

2 days ago

“No one can work in civil engineering alone”

2 days ago