Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 15th, 2011

Habitat for the year 2025 and beyond: : Like to dwell in a cool cave in the dunes?

Researchers at the university of California at Davis injected special bacteria, mixed with rich calcium alkaline bed, in a dune-type of soil; within a couple of hours, the 3 meter-square soil was stabilized. The bacteria secrete carbonate of calcium, a sort of cement to harden the ground.  We need to realize that over 40% of earth land is desert and arid and increasing fast in size.

The Swedish architect, Magnus Larson of 34 of age, is presenting his project to the London Architectural Association.  Larson wants to solidify the dunes and offer possibilities of dwelling in the 8,000 kilometers of dunes in the Sahara (the Sahel region in Africa), stretching from Sudan all the way to Mauritania.  The technique is valid for lands situated in seismic zones.

People dwelling in these dune houses will be able to grow vegetables and the tops will be covered with trees, since the humidity of the climate in the evening is over 80%.  The stabilization of the soil can go deep to 300 meters and facilitating the task and viability of planting many kinds of trees.

The late President of the African State Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara, had proposed in the 80’s to erect the Great Green African Wall of trees, with a width of 15 kilometers along the 8,000 kilometers of the Sahel that span 11 States. In 2006, the African Union Organization has ratified this vast project and over $115 million have been allocated in Germany by the International Environmental Fund in 2011 to the first phase of the Green Wall.

The dune dwelling can take advantage of the natural air flow and conditioning of the interior climate, as in termite habitat structure.  The walls in termite habitat are not meant to obstruct external climatic changes and variation, but to act as interface in order facilitate the exchange of fresh air within a limited range of air speeds and wind frequencies: Cool interior in hot seasons and warm climate in the winter. The cavities or alveolars in the walls of wasps are hexagonal in shape and allow in the “good air”.

For example, termites depose on the ground a mixture of wood and chewed up grass and herbs to forming a layer of a giant sponge, capable of storing 80 liters of water per day and able to counter-balance variation in humidity in the interior.

The giant Netherlands electronics company Philips has imagined a sustainable skyscraper labeled “Habitat 2020”.  The external walls are endowed with smart multifunctional cavities or membranes that expand and change directions according to sun, wind, and rain  intensity, speed, or direction.  The captors in the  thousands of membranes detect environmental changes and variations and get transformed accordingly. Electricity and droplets of water and humidity are stored and filtered as a sustainable interior environment.

New habitat are designed to redirect external air, rain, and water to underground systems (at 17 degrees all year round) and re-injected the cooled air to the interior of the habitat; a central tower-like cavity releases the polluted air.  There are photovoltaic panels with special lenses: 24 such panels can generate 80 KWH per day.  Four vertical Darrieus eolian can supplement another 40 KWH.




May 2011

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