German architect grows his own buildings from trees

Ferdinand Ludwig's largest project comprises more than 1,000 trees combined into one structure

TRD New York /
Nov.November 13, 2016 12:00 PM

Ludwig’s ‘platanen-kubus’ project in Germany (credit: ludwig.schönle)

In New York, developers frequently grapple over whether to build in glass and steel or in more classical brick and stone materials.

For German architect Ferdinand Ludwig, there’s a more natural solution. Ludwig is pioneering a new style of architecture known as Baubotanik, or Living Plant Constructions, born out of the ancient art of tree shaping, Arch Daily reported.

As Ludwig’s trees grow around metal scaffolding, their limbs rub against each other, causing the bark to fall away and exposing the inner tissue of the tree. That allows the vascular systems of the trees to amalgamate and become one giant stronger organism. Some of the metal is eventually removed once the joints of the trees fuse.

The practice takes patience. Ludwig’s largest project, known as platanen-kubus in Germany, won’t be complete until 2028, according to Design Boom. It comprises 1,000 plane trees over a steel framework.

“We developed solutions to adapt to climate change in Stuttgart by using the potential of Baubotanik,” Ludwig said. “This seems very interesting and urgent and we hope that we can contribute to this topic in the future.” [Arch Daily] + [Design Boom]Katherine Clarke

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