How Artificial Organics Are Changing Architecture

sea tree over the water

Sea Tree above water

Traditionally, the term artificial has some rather negative connotations. Artificial flavours and colours damage our bodies, elective artificial body modifications receive a certain amount of scorn and artificial products that imitate natural materials such as wood and marble are often perceived as ‘second best’ in this industry.

However, with the aid of the green building sector, ‘artificial’ is going through a stage of reinvention that promotes the positive aspects that can be achieved through imitation of the organic.

We have seen through Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay project that artificial flora isn’t a negative addition. Through the creation of their man-made ‘Supertrees’, the form of a tree is created, which will incorporate organic growth, but there is also the inclusion of photovoltaic cells at the imitation tree’s top that will allow for these structures to act as renewable energy sources.

Designed last year with a view to beginning construction in 2014, the Sea Tree by architectural firm Waterstudio follows these same principles, in addition to offering the same, if not more, environmental benefits.

sea tree inside

The design concept is a response to high levels of urbanisation in modern cities that leave little room for green spaces. While there have been some incredibly innovative ideas that offer to add green spaces to the city skylines by the implementation of green roofs and vertical forests, the Sea Tree takes a more intensive route.

It is in fact a floating structure that imitates the ecological make-up of a tree above water and acts a coral reef below, set to become a wildlife oasis for both airborne and underwater flora and fauna.

The technology used to create the structural component of this proposed project is similar to that of a seaborne oil storage tower and is completely height adjustable to better suit its surrounds, which includes lakes, rivers, seas and harbours. The layout includes layers of green platforms, both above water level and below, that are moored to the sea floor by a cable system.

Not only will the structure offer to rehabilitate wildlife in an area that is completely human prohibited, but it will implement positive environmental environmental changes. This includes air filtering, which will effect areas several miles from the structure’s location, adding to the entire ecological development of a city.

sea tree under the water

Sea Tree under the water

The scheme also involves a component whereby heavy carbon polluters, such as those who own and run the oil storage towers, can donate a tree to their neighbouring cities as a show of goodwill in taking positive action against the environmental pollution they create.

This is a structure that costs zero land space and can positively affect the ecological health of both waterways and breathable air in even the most highly populated of urban cities. Through artificial means.

Sustainable technologies, and those who create them, are taking ownership of the artificial and producing developments that work with, rather than against, the organic.

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By Emily D’Alterio
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