Category Archives: 01. biotecture

a. Buckminster Fuller on ‘Spaceship Earth’


Philadelphia, USA; 1975, 2 min

Initially published in 1969, and one of Fuller’s most popular works, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth is a brilliant synthesis of his world view. In this very accessible volume, Fuller investigates the great challenges facing humanity. How will humanity survive? How does automation influence individualization? How can we utilize our resources more effectively to realize our potential to end poverty in this generation? He questions the concept of specialization, calls for a design revolution of innovation, and offers advice on how to guide ‘spaceship earth’ toward a sustainable future.

b. Earthship: 2011 Overview


Michael Reynolds: Earthship Biotecture; Taos, USA
2011, 23 min

The most versatile and economical building design in the world, an Earthship is a radically sustainable architecture made of recycled materials and defined by the following 6 principles:

– Thermal solar heating & cooling
– Solar & wind electricity
– Contained sewage treatment
– Built with natural & recycled materials
– Water harvesting
– Food production

c. Earthship: Haiti Disaster Relief


Michael Reynolds: Earthship Biotecture; Taos, USA
2010, 10 min 29 sec

The Haiti Earthship Project gives an overview of the quick and sustainable disaster relief by the Taos Earthship team in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. People’s lives were affected in positive, uplifting ways as knowledge of sustainable design and construction was transferred to the people of Haiti.

d. Meghalaya’s Living Bridges


BBC Human Planet; Cherrapunji, India
2011, 5 min 02 sec

In the depths of northeastern India, in one of the wettest places on earth, bridges aren’t built – they’re grown. The living bridges of Cherrapunji 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 on huge boulders along the riverbanks, or even in the middle of the rivers themselves.

The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, noticed this tree long ago and saw in its powerful roots an opportunity to easily cross the area’s many rivers. Now, whenever and wherever the need arises, they simply grow their bridges. 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.

The root bridges, some of which are over a thirty meter long, take ten to fifteen years to become fully functional, but they’re extraordinarily strong – strong enough that some of them can support the weight of fifty or more people at a time. Because they are alive and still growing, the bridges actually gain strength over time – and some of the ancient root bridges used daily by the people of the villages around Cherrapunji may well be over five hundred years old.

e. Mitchell Joachim on Sustainable Architecture


Terreform; New York, USA
2008, 4 min 54 sec

Mitchell Joachim of Terreform, a non-profit sustainable architectural design organization, elaborates on how to combine architecture, sustainability, and treehouses. Terreform’s work encompasses all three of these topics. By using different kinds of biological matter like trees, and training them over a certain structure, the Terreform team have created fascinating living tree houses, that not only do not pollute – they even suck carbon.

f. Milenko Milenkovic: Serbian Ecohouse


NTDTV; Boljevci, Serbia
2009, 1 min 22 sec

High electricity bills prompted engineer and inventor, Milenko Milenkovic to build his first eco-friendly house in the Serbian town of Boljevci. The dome-shaped house, 18.5 meters in diameter is up to 80 percent more energy efficient than a conventional house of the same size, as most of the energy for the house comes from the sun and geothermal energy. The house’s glass-covered dome was built from 110 square meters of solar panels and a special type of concrete. One third of the house is covered with earth and there are two layers of walls, allowing the air between to circulate and serve as insulation from heat and cold. The house is so well insulated that it maintains temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius in winter and 18 degrees Celsius in summer. Milenkovic’s house is not only eco-friendly but luxurious as well with a swimming pool, a jacuzzi and even an indoor garden. “This house, for it’s functioning, needs only 10 percent additional energy in comparison to ordinary houses in Serbia. The rest of the energy for the house comes from the sun and geothermal energy.” This house is just the beginning for Milenkovic. He has plans for building larger energy-efficient projects, like gymnasiums and small industrial enterprises.