Living Root Bridges

Van Mensvoort
August 9th 2009

In the depths of northeastern India, one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren't built – they're grown. What could 21th century architects learn from these dynamic construction principles? I would like to see this applied on highways.

hanging_bridge3_530.jpg
The living bridges of Cherrapunji, India are made from the roots of the Ficus elastica tree. This tree produces a series of secondary roots from higher up its trunk and can comfortably perch atop huge boulders along the riverbanks, or even in the middle of the rivers themselves.

In order to make a rubber tree's roots grow in the right direction - say, over a river - the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems.

The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.

rootbridges2_530.jpgrootbridges_530.jpg

Via Living Root Bridges, via Makezine.

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!

 

Comments are members only. Login to your account and join the technology debate.

LOGIN
Not a member? Join us

Jonas braoudé
Posted 05/12/2012 – 09:17

As a young designer I just feel very inspired and exited about next nature, especially this guided growth thematic. I am very happy to share with you my architectural diploma project: the last wilderness.
I hope you enjoy
http://jonas-braoude.blogspot.fr/p/the-last-wilderness_30.html

Caitlin Shepherd
Posted 09/05/2010 – 16:04

that is amazing. A real demonstration of ecologically interdependent design, using the materials that exist to the most avantageous outcome, integrating the human into the ecological system, not separating it.

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

Join us!
Already a member? Login.