Though the images are quite stunning, unfortunately, they remind me off my college courses in woody plants identification. What would have been fondly remembered in a future old self as my halcyon days may ultimately be thought of as a horrifying experience, exacerbated by memories of pre-sunrise tree runs, unending memorization drills, severe allergy attacks, and the resulting addiction to Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra and Flonase.
Fortunately, they also remind me of Michael Wolf's photographs of Hong Kong highrises, which I was introduced to by bldgblog. The similarities are uncanny. And then not a moment too soon, I was reminded of another bldgblog entry, Das Urpflanze Haus: “You'd plant the seeds – or perhaps just one, like a new, Piranesian "Jack and the Beanstalk" – do some watering, perhaps spread a little fertilizer... and at some point your own house will grow.” But for our own proposal, the end result would not be in the form of a Tolkinesque biomagical cottage but a skyscraper as hinted by the scientists at Miscroscopic Wood Anatomy and elucidated by Michael Wolf. It would take as its context not the rolling countryside of Hobbiton but a supradense extra-super-megalopolis. Perhaps Hong Kong 2046? Beijing x Shanghai x Guangzhou?
Living quarters carved out of ephithelial cells; cable, electrical wirings, plumbing, et al. inserted through resin canals; built-in green roof; exterior pollution scrubbers. All planned from the onset or one can take an anti-architectural approach and subject it to the indeterminacy of landscape. And time, “the crucial dimension of landscape,” can be cultivated to full economic use. Local officials need not wait centuries for the woody skyscrapers to be ready for habitation. With genetic manipulation and super fertilizers, a “sapling” may accomodate single families or individual renters. But as it expands in breadth and girth, additional spaces become available, tempered, of course, by economic forces, structural responsiveness, and environmental conditions. It's landscape, architecture, and real estate all rolled into one. Curioser and curioser.
Microscopic Wood Anatomy
Michael Wolf / Architecture of Density