Fab Tree Hab

David K. Israel

Following up on last week's IQ-tip on green building, where we discovered that recycling neighborhoods is just as important as recycling materials, look at what MIT architect Mitchell Joachim is up to!

According to technologyreview.com, "he and his colleagues "¦ have conceived a home that doesn't just use 'green' design but is itself a living ecosystem. They call it the Fab Tree Hab."

The basic framework of the house would be created using a gardening method known as pleaching, in which young trees are woven together into a shape such as an archway, lattice, or screen and then encouraged to maintain that form over the years. For now, Joachim is working on MATscape, a house project in California incorporating about half recycled materials and half living materials, such as grasses, plants, and soil. But Joachim and his team hope to plan a Fab Tree Hab community someday, creating homes that don't interrupt the surrounding ecosystem but become integrated with it.

If Joachim is successful, perhaps Julia "Butterfly" Hill won't be the only person living in a treehouse in the future.

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