Monday, January 24, 2011

In the Beginning.

In my initial research, I found myself drawn to the spectacular rooting mechanisms of Mangroves, which I had the opportunity of viewing firsthand on a visit to the coastal mangrove forests in the Dominican Republic.

Mangroves are able to root into shallow coastal marshes, where few other species of plant are able to survive, providing habitats for a variety of different fauna. A young mangrove can even be 'deployed' floating until it finds a suitable area to root.
Looking at these roots led me to the Banyan tree, which grows from the top of the forest canopy down towards the ground, creating light, near space frame structures.

However, due to the obvious structural difficulties of building a structure from the top down, along with the randomness of the space frame created, this idea was cut down. (Nice Pun!)

Next up then, are various creepers.

(See it happen at 1:40) A creeper tendril will wind itself until it touches a potential support, wind itself around it, and then strengthen itself by creating a curling 'bridge.'

This interesting spiraling has led me to seek out other forms of torsion strengthening in nature, leading me to the Whitebark Pine, where the direction of the wood fibers can deviate up to 30 degrees from the direction of growth.

More on that here:

Hopefully this will lead to some interesting structures. We will soon find out.

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