A multispecies habitat made of living trees

Design studio Terreform ONE constructed a reef-like structure that is formed using tree-grafting methods, as a ‘multispecies habitat’.

Called Fab Tree Hab, the ‘terrestrial reef’ is 92 square metre (1000 square feet) and combines indigenous tree-grafting techniques with computationally designed cross-laminated timber (CLT) arch scaffolds. The aim is to prototype a dwelling that can seamlessly be integrated into its natural landscape and to replace harmful industrial materials with durable, bio-based alternatives.

The foundation elements use hardly any concrete and all of the facade elements are either cedar or jute treated with beeswax and pine rosin to prevent decay.

Sourced from a local biomass farm, thirty-foot-tall tree clusters are shaped on-site within large reusable timber scaffolds. After a year, the trees have grown enough to support the modular multispecies wall system. The wall components are made of handmade crocheted jute fibres and 3D printed bioplastic elements. These serve as micro-habitats and food webs for flora and fauna to increase biodiversity.

The structure takes a socio-ecological approach to architecture, serving as an observatory and education centre for people and providing refuge for wildlife. The project is located in New Windsor, New York.

Images: Terreform ONE