When architecture student Yi Yvonne Weng considers the future of the Amazon rainforest, she pictures a place that has not fallen to deforestation, but has instead been preserved for scientific exploration. And that exploration takes place on vast, mesh canopies that stretch across the treetops.

Weng just received the 2012 Foster + Partners Prize for her project, "The 6th Layer – Expolorative Canopy Trail." Seeking to create a non-invasive way to explore the rainforest, Weng proposed deploying ultra-lightweight mesh canopies over portions of the treetops. Using the natural space between trees, long mesh nests would drop down further into the forest and end in little capsules, allowing explorers to experience the forest from a different angle. Weng explains her intention behind the project:

Programmatically, the project is centred on scientific exploration and harvesting medicinal plants, which provides an alternative use of the forest without destroying it. At the same time, the positive occupation of the territory it enables could provide a level of surveillance that helps to protect both the endangered environment and the indigenous population.


Based on the concept art, Weng intends for explorers to get from canopy to canopy by hot air balloon, making the experience seem altogether magical.

Visit ArchDaily for more images from Weng's project.

Architectural Association's Foster + Partners Prize 2012 Goes to Yi Yvonne Weng [ArchDaily via My Modern Met]