Hortiscape. A Robotically Crafted Living Wall

Sandra Mansilla Hsyu, Kenny Nguyen, Gergana Rusenova, Sascha Bohnenberger-Fehr

Fabrication and Creative Processes. School of Design and Architecture. Swinburne University of Technology

The Hortiscape project shifts the current paradigm by inviting natural life to inhabit built environments and, thus, form hybrid urban ecosystems. It challenges orthodox construction systems by rethinking the life cycle of a wall as a holistic living system, where architecture and nature fuse over time. After its life as a wall, the Hortiscape structure could be fully recycled and returned to the natural cycle without harming the environment. Moreover, instead of repelling, the Hortiscape structure welcomes other living beings, aspiring to become a living building element integrated within Melbourne’s dense urbanised landscape. The project explored the architectural potential of garden soil coir blocks – an unconventional but environmentally friendly material – based on a computationally designed wall made of identical brick-like elements and built using craft-based and robotic fabrication methods. The installation was fabricated in the robotic laboratory ProtoLAB at Swinburne University of Technology with an industrial robotic arm KUKA KR120 mounted on an eight-metre-long linear track.