Mitchell Joachim: Don't build your home, grow it!
February 12, 2010
TED Fellow and urban designer Mitchell Joachim presents his vision for sustainable, organic architecture: eco-friendly abodes grown from plants and -- wait for it -- meat.Mitchell Joachim
- Architect, designer
Soft cars, jet packs and houses made of meat are all in a day's work for urban designer, architect and TED Fellow Mitchell Joachim. Full bio
Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
Why grow homes? Because we can.
Right now, America is in an unremitting state of trauma.
And there's a cause for that, all right.
We've got McPeople, McCars, McHouses.
As an architect, I have to confront something like this.
So what's a technology that will allow us
to make ginormous houses?
Well, it's been around for 2,500 years.
It's called pleaching, or grafting trees together,
or grafting inosculate matter into one contiguous, vascular system.
And we do something different
than what we did in the past;
we add kind of a modicum of intelligence to that.
We use CNC to make scaffolding
to train semi-epithetic matter, plants,
into a specific geometry
that makes a home that we call a Fab Tree Hab.
It fits into the environment. It is the environment.
It is the landscape, right?
And you can have a hundred million of these homes,
and it's great because they suck carbon.
You can have 100 million families, or take things out of the suburbs,
because these are homes that are a part of the environment.
Imagine pre-growing a village --
it takes about seven to 10 years --
and everything is green.
So not only do we do the veggie house,
we also do the in-vitro meat habitat,
or homes that we're doing research on now in Brooklyn,
where, as an architecture office, we're for the first of its kind
to put in a molecular cell biology lab
and start experimenting with regenerative medicine
and tissue engineering
and start thinking about what the future would be
if architecture and biology became one.
So we've been doing this for a couple of years, and that's our lab.
And what we do is we grow
extracellular matrix from pigs.
We use a modified inkjet printer,
and we print geometry.
We print geometry where we can make industrial design objects
like, you know, shoes, leather belts,
where no sentient creature is harmed.
It's victimless. It's meat from a test tube.
So our theory is that eventually
we should be doing this with homes.
So here is a typical stud wall,
an architectural construction,
and this is a section
of our proposal for a meat house,
where you can see we use fatty cells as insulation,
cilia for dealing with wind loads
and sphincter muscles for the doors and windows.
And we know it's incredibly ugly.
It could have been an English Tudor or Spanish Colonial,
but we kind of chose this shape.
And there it is kind of grown, at least one particular section of it.
We had a big show in Prague,
and we decided to put it in front of the cathedral
so religion can confront the house of meat.
That's why we grow homes. Thanks very much.
- Architect, designer
Soft cars, jet packs and houses made of meat are all in a day's work for urban designer, architect and TED Fellow Mitchell Joachim.Why you should listen
Mitchell Joachim is a leader in ecological design and urbanism. He is a co-founder of Terreform ONE and Terrefuge, and is on the faculty at Columbia University and Parsons. Formerly he was an architect at Gehry Partners and Pei Cobb Freed, and he has been awarded the Moshe Safdie Research Fellowship.
Joachim won the History Channel and Infiniti Design Excellence Award for the City of the Future, and Time Magazine's "Best Invention of the Year 2007" for his Compacted Car with MIT's Smart Cities. His project, Fab Tree Hab, has been exhibited at MoMA and widely published. He was chosen by Wired for "The 2008 Smart List: 15 People the Next President Should Listen To."
The original video is available on TED.com