Living Architecture

Living Architecture add

Depending on who you talk to, the concept of living architecture can represent different things. Its genesis in the Art Nouveau and Functionalism eras earned it the appellation ‘organic architecture’, which emphasises principles derived from living nature. From a technical perspective, it speaks to the idea that innovation can take an otherwise inanimate object and see it respond to its environment.

The latitude of the living architecture concept extends from rooftop gardens to energy-generating ‘smart bricks’. It is bringing habitats to life and there are case studies the world over.

On a more simple level, solar technology is taking our inert spaces and through the application of a ubiquitous innovation, making their role in our lives an active one. At the more sophisticated end of the spectrum is biotecture. Biotects (the portmanteau stands for biology and architecture) are leveraging their fluency in biology with their passion for the bricks and mortar world to create designs that surpass our wildest dreams; case in point is the world’s first tower made of fungus bricks found in Queens, New York.

Eco-architects are joining the creative crusade growing living treehouses from ficus molded around frame structures. Taking a leaf out of their book - pun intended - residential architects are being inspired by the treehouse design and introducing this magic into homes, wrapping designs around leafy giants, and bringing on a whole new meaning to seamless indoor/outdoor flow.

A great example resides in Tokyo, Japan; the Inside Out House takes an otherwise simple and modern abode and transforms it into an oasis with multiple trees and plants reaching to the heavens within the four walls of the space. Also in Japan is a 300 year old camphor tree, 22 metres high, which plays host to a tiny teahouse.

On home soil, Nicholas Mann at AO Architecture, is adept at working with living architecture and focuses on using the most refined technology. “We are actually finding more and more that these principles are driven by our clients.

“From a personal perspective, I really like to integrate nature with design in terms of natural materiality through interiors and exteriors and also framing areas of the design around nature, like private gardens viewable from select spaces inside, or rooms up in canopies of the trees. We often propose green roofs, internal water features and living walls.”