|Structure, Form, & Growth
A methodology new to buildings yet ancient to gardening is introduced in this design - pleaching. Pleaching is a method of weaving together tree branches to form living archways, lattices, or screens. The trunks of inosculate, or self-grafting, trees, such as Elm, Live Oak, and Dogwood, are the load-bearing structure, and the branches form a continuous lattice frame for the walls and roof. Weaved along the exterior is a dense protective layer of vines, interspersed with soil pockets and growing plants. Prefab scaffolds cut from 3D computer files control the plant growth in the early stages. On the interior, a clay and straw composite insulates and blocks moisture, and a final layer of smooth clay is applied like a plaster to dually provide comfort and aesthetics. Existing homes built with cob (clay & straw composite) demonstrate the feasibility, longevity, and livability of the material as a construction material. In essence, the tree trunks of this design provide the structure for an extruded ecosystem, whose growth is embraced over time. Living examples of pleached structures include the Red Alder bench by Richard Reames, "Sycamore Tower" by Axel Erlandson.