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Source: News in Science, http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1553264.htmGrowing a home from living trees instead of building a home from felled timber is the goal of an architect from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr Mitchell Joachim, part of the MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities Group, along with ecological engineer Dr Lara Greden and architect Javier Arbona, propose a home that is actually an ecosystem.
The Fab Tree Hab goes beyond sustainable housing and so-called green design, building with materials that have a low impact on the environment and human health.
"Not only does it do zero damage, but it will hopefully clean the air," says Joachim.
The habitat is based on an ancient gardening method known as pleaching, which weaves together tree branches to form living archways, lattices or screens.
In Joachim's vision, the exterior of the living house is shaped over the course of several decades into a protective crisscross of vines, interspersed with soil pockets and growing plants.
A clay and straw composite fills in the gaps to insulate against the cold and heat and keep out moisture.
He proposes constructing windows manufactured from soy-based plastics that would flex with the home as it grows.
Water would be gathered in a roof-top trough ...