As we have seen, trees occupy a litany of places in our senses and psyche – and just beg to be used as fodder for sculptural and architectural abstraction. Some recent adaptations of the theme take on some interesting forms, due to the use of material (a future topic) form, and function.
Three examples of the abstraction in it’s literal sense, followed by a building-as-metaphor:
‘The Ancient Tree’ by Christ & Gantenbein Architects, a concrete park structure evoking the arching form of a large canopy species.
:: image via Coolboom
Solar power trees, via Treehugger, these found in Adelaide, Austrailia:
:: image via Treehugger
And the l’Arbre de Flonville in Lausanne, Switzerland by Samuel Wilkinson a combination of steel trunk and exposed ‘roots’, offering seating and structure, along with a softer wooden canopy.
:: image via MoCo Loco
Where does this all lead? While many items can take the form of, or evoke the style of a tree, even maintaining the majority of tree-functions, the metaphor can be further elongated. As mentioned in William Mcdonough’s writings often, there is the strong metaphor of making a building function like a tree. A form of realization of this metaphor of the Skyscraper as a tree for a speculative building in dubbed the ‘Tree Tower’:
:: image via Jetson Green
While the aesthetic possibilities of architectural greening are myriad, there exists possibility of many functional ideas taken from nature. Looking at concepts such as biomimicry as guides, and using technology alongside, not in place of natural systems, can we learn from nature’s ways of providing function and beauty, art and science – while allowing for the innate process of self-regeneration? That’s our challenge.