Green Roof Membranes and Dangling Roots

The perforated membrane material used for extensive and intensive green roof designs could be used (or “misused”) alternatively for a variety of uses.  Some of the uses that most immediately come to mind are rather experimental — think of the coupling of this material with more broad atmospheric architectural ideas like Tetsuo Kondo Architects / Transsolar’s Cloudscapes at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT).

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They encased a cloud inside a two-story cube by pumping three layers of air into the space (cold/dry air at the bottom, hot/humid air atop, and hot/dry air in the middle).  Cloudscapes does not stand alone as an exploration of this type of atmospheric architecture—for example, Fujiko Nakaya has hid a pedestrian bridge in Bristol with fog along with Philip Johnson’s Glass House

fujiko-nakaya-veil-at-the-glass-house-_dezeen_1sq

—the point being, that this type of architecture is not unprecedented and could potentially be coupled with a material we use for green roof design to create ceilings of exposed and dangling root systems that are nourished by artificial atmospheric conditions.  Imagine the experience that perspective could provide.  Now, this would not be simple and would require the incorporation of other materials, particularly a growing medium like rockwool—but the resulting affect could be powerful.  I think of this like an artistic installation of a hydroponic system, producing something like the sight of a large tree’s root system making its way down into a cave.

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The green roof membrane material that I propose for this type of application is made by a number of companies, and preferably would be developed to perform better as a tensile fabric, but structural framing could also be incorporated without compromising the affect.  These membrane materials are often perforated rather than woven to allow the penetration and growth of root systems without the root system expanding between the weave of the material.  This idea involves multiple materials to work together in somewhat new ways, and would certainly require the input of someone with expertise in hydroponic horticulture, but I don’t think that bringing it to fruition is that farfetched.

Images courtesy of dezeen.com, tree roots

Daniel Knapmiller post 5

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