Layla Shaikley is also working on the Catalyst City studio with Michael Fox. Her natural inspiration for Pomegenerate is the Durian plant which uses a semi rigid pressurized skin to protect its seeds housed inside. Shaikley has gone to great lengths to recreate shapes and processes very similar to the durian in her solution for exploration on Mars.
The outer skin acts to create a more hospitable pressure chamber while protecting inhabitants from radiation and insulates the space from hostile temperature changes. Shaikley had the following to say about how her project evolved from the principles examined in the durian: “In the durian, seeds serve on the inside as individual units, yet function as a whole to hold adjacent seeds in place. Likewise, the interior of my inflatable superstructure houses a series of individual and pressurized volumes that provide space at an individual level, yet work as a unit to provide shelter in a highly prescribed environment like that on Mars.”
Below are mock ups illustrating how her idea could be used for enclosure or shape making as a shelter solution:
For interested in more examples of using the Durian plant structure for architectural inspiration we also have a post on the Esplanade Theatre Design here that is equally interesting.