Friday 27 November 2009

Geo-engineering dunes into architecture

Humans since ancient times, tilled the soil or carved a residence into the hillside or in other words engineered our landscape to suit our needs like carving through mountains to build transport networks or redirecting rivers and interrupting them to capture water behind walls of concrete.

"Due to human over-exploitation, over-hunting and widespread biodiversity loss, the infamous (Sahara) desert — which stretches from Northern Africa to the Red Sea and the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean — has suffered a serious blow to its fragile ecological balance.  The 3,500,000 square mile region now lacks the majority of the wildlife and botanicals that it once had, and as a result, its sands have been encroaching on southern Africa at an estimated 30 miles each year.  This has set off red flags because through this desertification process, essential temperate eco-regions are slowly but surely being taken over." via

Enter Swedish Architecture student Magnus Larsson, who wants to turn some of the most deserted and harsh landscapes on the planet into habitable structures, namely the Sahara.

His ambitious idea is erecting a 6,000km-long bacteria solidified sandstone wall from one side of the Sahara desert to the other.  A team at UC Davis has been looking at the microorganism bacillus pasteurii to solidify the ground in earthquake-prone areas. As Larsson puts it, "All I did was to deliberately misapply their technology ... and to pump up the scale, and turn it into a 6,000-km-long wall that's made of sand and protects against sand."

Thus affecting a huge Geo-engineering effort of "architectural anti-dessertification devices" in order to help save the continent that birthed our species, Africa.
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