Vegetal City Takes Green Design Literally

Where other architects attempt to design buildings with a low-impact on the environment, Luc Schuiten envisions an urban future that is truly green. His imagined cities are filled tree-inspired buildings that integrate, rather than compete with, living plants.

Schuiten has coined the term archiborescence to describe his biomimetic architecture, with buildings that are inspired by and integrate living plants. His dream is to continue urban development, but reintroduce the plant life that has been pushed out of cities. Schuiten's work is mostly conceptual, although he has applied his concepts to some buildings and vertical gardens, but he hopes that advancing technology will gradually make his urban utopias feasible.

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And Luc is not the only Schuiten with an eye toward fantastical cityscapes. His brother is famed Belgian comic book artist François Schuiten, best known for illustrating the architecturally-themed series Les Cités Obscures. The brothers once teamed up for their own graphic novel series Les Terres Creuses, in which characters live inside the concentric spheres of their hollow world.

Schuiten's Vegetal City: Idealistic Visions of Our Urban Future is currently on display at the Musée du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, featuring his concept images and sculptures.

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[Vegetal City via Inhabitat]

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Nantes in 2100

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Ornithoplanes with flapping wings

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The Hollow Cities

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The Hollow Cities

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Urbacanyon

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The Lotus City

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The Lotus City

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The Woven City

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The Woven City

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The Tree-House City

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The Tree-House City

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The City of the Waves

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The City of the Waves

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Evolution of a Street from 1850 to 2150

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DISCUSSION

Something that strikes me about these (and many other eco-city) designs is the remarkable lack of animal life depicted. Are these simply meant to be plant-scapes that are pretty to live in and maybe even good for the air? Or are they meant to be full ecosystems? Where are the bugs? The rats? The raccoons? The rampaging polar bears? And heck, where are all the people? You'd think they'd all want to be outside enjoying the atmosphere. Or maybe they're all hiding from that gang of kids with the fairy-leaf-wings in picture #11.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish more architects, even when creating highly conceptual designs such as these, would work more to depict how their buildings and cities would actually be occupied. That is the point of architecture, is it not?