Growing, patiently

Patience, we know, is a great virtue. It could also be the key to a more sustainable way of building. Visiondivision explore.

Swedish designers Visiondivision’s The Patient Gardener project uses forests as a metaphor for exploring how patience might be the key to a more sustainable future.

Visiondivison were recently invited as guest professors to the Politecnico in Milan to do a week-long workshop called MIAW2, which looked to a new way of thinking about green design, resilience, recycling and ethical consciousness.

The designers constructed a “study retreat” on the campus to demonstrate that if we can be patient about the time it takes to build the retreat, it reduces the need for transportation, material waste declines and a different, more green, manufacturing process can be implemented. It works simply by allowing nature to go about its natural business in a more architectonic way.

The final result can be seen at the Politecnico in Milan in about 60 years time.

Rather simply, during the workshop Visiondivision “gave nature all the guidance and directions to help it grow into useful objects and structures”. By bending, twisting, pruning, grafting, braiding and weaving, the amount of water and light the trees and plants receive can be managed, thus moulding them to a desired purpose.

The Patient Gardener structure consists of ten Japanese cherry trees, which form the main material of the two-storey retreat. The cherry trees are circularly arranged around a temporary tower stand, which is attached to the plants with ropes. It’s the ropes that work to gently bend the trunk of the trees as they grow. The stairs, handrails and other safety features for this retreat will all be made from the products of fruit trees.