3/05/2011

Treepods Initiative by Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

We can learn a lot from plants, specifically the way plants is adjusted by "feedback" from tbe environment. Plants have the natural capacity of de-carbonization of their environment that can be adapted to not only building but also cities. The Boston's Treepods Initiative, designed by Paris-based Influx_Studio and Boston-based ShiftBoston, is inscribed into this logic. Inspired from plants, The key element to this project is to de-carbonize the city of Boston. Four elements articulate this initiative: Biomimicry, structure, urban strategy and social interaction.
Treepods Initiative, Boston, USA, © Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

Biomimicry which is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems is used as an air cleaning and CO2 catcher integrated urban device. This idea of learning from nature has been the focus of a increasingly research such as that of led by aaschool's Professor Michael Weinstock who has been quoted in many occasions in this blog.
© Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston
© Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

Plants are self-sufficient and can adapt to environmental constraints. As Weinstock states, they construct their own materials, molecule by molecule from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide, and a few trace minerals in tiny proposition from the soil. Plants' system of self-sufficiency can be adapted to architecture. Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston take the Dragon Blood Tree (also known as Dracaena cinnabari) to model their Treepods.
Treepods concept © Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

The Dragon Blood Tree's upside-down-shaped umbrella, which is produced at maturity, inspired the shape of the Treepods. The tree's system of branching create a canopy that can provide a maximum of shading surface. The Dragon Blood is native in the Socotra archipalego in the Indian Ocean which climate is a tropical desert climate- and semi-desert climate-type.
Biomimicry © Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston are particularly interested in the way that the tree's canopy allows the wind flow as well as its system of branching in terms of storage and distribution of resources from ground to the canopy.
The Treepods provide shadow, it is equipped with a solar pv, a sun tracker latest technology which allows for harvesting the energy necessary to powered the air cleaning system and the urban lamp function. The bulbs that extend the canopy branching structure aim at multiplying the contact points between air and the CO2, serving as a filter.
Carbon - Scrubbing Comparation © Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

Relationships, which are central in Ecology, are the basis of self-sufficient structures — plants as well as human beings and animals. Self-feeder building requires integral relationships between not only all the components that constitute the building — form-generation, material behavior and capacity, manufacturing and assembly —, but also the building and its users as well as the building and its environment is the key element to the building structure. It is clear that building can adapt to its environment if all the components are conceived based on relationships since architecture operates through the articulation of spatial, material and energetic interactions within a specific context.
© Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

The Treepods are conceived with a recycled and recyclable plastic, the PET (for Polyethylene terephthalate), material usually used for drink bottles. According to both Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston, this material is available in large quantities as recycled raw material. It can assume different colorations and degrees of transparency. Two other characteristics of the PET are, first, the capacity to obtain complex forms, and the good tensile resistance and mechanical properties. PET aside, the entire Treepod structure is made out of modular elements.
© Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

The Treepods act as a social link in and for the community since it could be an interactive interface. As it is a relational structure, as mentioned above, people can interact with the tree and each other.
© Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

The building house a seesaw that harvests kinetic energy so that people can play and learn about the ecological paradigm shift. People can learn about de-carbonization process, sustainable behaviors, they can take part to the de-carbonization of their environment.
© Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

The urban strategy embraces the city of Boston. With such a modula capacity based on a honeycomb hexagonal geometry, the Treepods have the capacity to reach three different of assemblage and urban and scoial functions.
System of Branching © Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston
Growing System © Influx_Studio and ShiftBoston

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