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troublemag | September 18, 2021

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Greenwish #15 by Robyn Gibson (designs by Horse)

Greenwish #15 by Robyn Gibson (designs by Horse)

Straw Skyscrapers
It could be something from a Star Wars movie, the bottom of the sea, a futuristic manifesto, or a hairdresser’s nightmare … But it’s actually a concept for an extension to an existing building in Stockholm, from Belatchew Lab Architecture. They call it the ‘Strawscraper’, and it’s covered in hair that uses Piezoelectric technology to convert movement into electricity that can be stored for later use.

The hair-covered kinetic shell harvests the power of wind without the need for a traditional turbine. It also solves the issues of urban wind farming and safety in urban environments for birds and humans, and  the normal noise factor associated with turbines.


Soft Weapons
Bamboo, flowers, seedpods and leaves are not the kinds of materials we usually we associate with violence and weaponry. For this January Biannual commissioned work, artist Sonia Rentsch lays these natural elements together on a white canvas to create her emotionally-evocative soft weapons; harmless vegetable matter that nevertheless resonate with a dark energy.


Solar Ivy Photovoltaic Leaves
Design excels when it integrates functionality with improvements in technology, and adds beauty to our world. These ‘Solar Ivy’ photovoltaic leaves do just that. Brooklyn-based SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) used paper-thin leaf-shaped PV material over polyethylene and attached a tiny piezoelectric generator to each ‘leaf’. The ‘Solar Ivy’ is integrated decoratively onto a building’s external surface, and generates energy by sparkling in the sunlight.


Bacterial Buildings
Constructed by 3D printers using bacteria. Many designers are currently exploring ‘bacterial printers’ that will construct human-scale objects, utilising nanoparticle design and biology in their creation.

Writer Chris Arkenberg says of Columbia Living Architecture Lab: “Their recent work investigates bacterial manufacturing [i.e.] the genetic modification of bacteria to create durable materials. Envisioning a future where bacterial colonies are designed to print novel materials at scale, they see buildings wrapped in seamless, responsive, bio-electronic envelopes.”

Roboticist Enrico Dini is fabricating 3D printers large enough to print houses from sand, with a view to “deploying his D-Shape printer to the moon in hopes of churning lunar soil into a habitable house.”

Dutch firm, Universe Architecture, plans on printing the first Landscape House in 2014. They describe the design of the house as: “One surface folded in an endless möbius band. Floors transform into ceilings, inside into outside … Architecture of continuity with an endless array of applicability.”

”The house will be printed through a D-shaped printer with the materials being sand bonded by a magnesium based glue. The frame is then filled with fibre reinforced concrete.


Hallucination Insulation
Growing mushrooms under your bed might not be such a revelation to many uni students, but two clever kids – Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre – mixed theirs with water, flour, and minerals, and voila! The foam they created was no hallucination: it resulted in a new, cheap-as-chips and highly effective building insulation material.

Eben and Gavin have just graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US, where they developed the product for a class, and are now working full-time on testing and preparing their mushroom insulation, or ‘Greensulate’ for manufacture.

Another product, ‘Ecovative’ is made by inoculating agricultural by-products with mycelium (mushroom) fibres and left for about a week at room temperature, without need for light, watering or petrochemical input. Ultimately, around 13km of the minute fibres exist in every cubic 2.5cm block of the resulting foam, which is dehydrated, heat-treated, then bonded directly to materials such as wood, hemp, jute, timber veneer, fibreglass and even carbon fibre.



Pholeum Pod Car Concept
Pholeum transportation is a concept based on the living cell tissue structure of plants, which can carry organic nutrients to any part of the plant when required. Designer Alexei Mikhailov from Montreal, Canada, has taken this idea on board and given it a ride around town, posting a design on Behance for a Volkswagon-branded personal mobility unit.

The Pholeum Pod Car is intended as an ideal transportation unit for mega-cities, and is so eco-friendly that a short trip inside it is equivalent to riding a bike down the street.

The minimalist interior features “the next generation driving environment”, with a control steering pod that mimicks video game controls, where brake and gas paddles are embedded close to the steering wheel. The wheels are fully immersible, with rubberized tyres featuring an independent spoke arrangement, which allows the wheels to absorb road bumps without having to use suspension. The out-of-body wheel base also has an innovative look that is enhanced by its clear body shell and green design.