design student omri cohen presents his exploration into architectural shells created from living organisms and growing systems. in a project called ‘living shells’, cohen uses textile technology to examine the potential of wheatgrass root systems as an elastic raw material that generates an insulated and shaded layer, and even a substrate for new growth.
living shells: the structure visualized over time with local plants growing on the textile layers
images courtesy of omri cohen
during the project, cohen tried to use cheap and common materials, like jute, felt and wheatgrass seeds. by layering the materials in a certain way he created a textile that grows and changes; the growth of the roots below and wheatgrass above creates thicker material over time.
1:10 construction model showing the curved bamboo structure
to demonstrate the potential application of the textile, cohen built 1:10 models of temporary structures that could be erected in rural or urban environments. the primary structure utilizes curved bamboo elements, which are then covered with the layered textile and connected to an irrigation system.
1:10 model showing the textile covering
the living shells offer an opportunity to observe nature, watching the structure change in a natural process of growth, renewal, and decay. the shells could also provide a new ecosystem for small animals to inhabit.
sewing the living textile from jute, felt and wheatgrass seeds
closeup of the sewing process
seed testing: cohen used the same layered textile to test different seeds
testing how the wheatgrass grows through the layered textile sheets
closeup of the wheatgrass growing through the sheets
living shells: growth process
materials board: dried roots, dried wheatgrass, living textile grid, cover pattern part, jute
sketches and form searching
usage scenario: structural drawings
name: living shells
designer: omri cohen
advisor: dov ganchrow (bezalel academy of arts and design, jerusalem)
edited by: lynne myers | designboom