MSMS team and Root System Analysis

Pavlos Schizas, a member of the msms research team, has graciously agreed to share some details with us about his research at the AA as part of the Emergent Technologies program. This project, which was in partnership with other fine students Revano Satria, Michel Moukarzel and Mohammed Makki, involves the analysis of both fibrous and tap root systems and their potential application to architectural design solutions. Read more below…Pavlos describes the project in brief as so:

“Natural systems are based on principles such as Self-Organisation and Emergence; these principles are driven by several factors which play a significant role in the natural systems’ development. The development of root systems is established with respect to the performance of the different tasks that will benefit the system as a whole. The concept of biomimetics is to understand the underlying logic of these natural systems and propose different methods of implementation, particularly pertaining to the architectural field. The hi­erarchy within the system creates levels of adaptation, thus leading to the utilization and lay­ering of all the tools at hand…with respect to bio­mimicry, the underlying logic must be understood and implemented. Therefore, different pos­sibilities for implementing this logic will be proposed in both an architectural and urban field.”

From there the group established that the initial tasks undertaken by root systems are absorption, anchorage and storage. The two comparative systems (Fibrous versus Taproot) were then analyzed and characteristics of each system were studied in an isolated fashion. Below is a diagram of a digitally modeled fibrous system:

The potential for this kind of research in an applied solution for foundation systems in endless, to prove this point further the Biomimicry Guild recently explained to Architechweb how they are currently consulting HOK architecture about how to implement a taproot-like system for a masterplanning solution in India:

“Soil stability represents one of the biggest challenges of building in this location because of steep hillsides and extreme weather conditions, which alternate between drought and monsoon. Rather than drilling piers to secure buildings into the soil, the team is exploring a biomimetic approach that uses foundations that mimic a tree’s tap roots.”

Below are more images from the group’s research.


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