magnus larsson sculpts the saharan desert with bacteria
original content
jun 24, 2013
magnus larsson sculpts the saharan desert with bacteria


‘dune’ by magnus larsson, sahara desert, north africa
image © magnus larsson

 

 

 

“architects create spaces that accommodate human activity. as opposed to many of its contemporary counterparts, dune is not so much focused on the styling of that activity, as on the supporting of it. while designed to visually seduce, dune is not primarily a formal exercise, but a social, ecological, cultural one. how are we to live with the desert, in the desert, within the desert?”

-magnus larsson

 

 

swedish architect magnus larsson teams up with the most unlikely partner to create a 6,000 kilometer-long inhabitable green sandstone wall along the saharan desert, presented at the exhibition ‘sahara surreal’ at the empty quarter gallery. with the help of bacillus pasteurii, a bacterial microorganism abundantly available in marshes and wetlands, the loose sand will be transformed into a fibrous porous structure that will sustainably control desertification while housing thousands of refugees. the crux of the project however lies in the natural microbial reaction of the bacteria with the sand particles that turn them into organic dunes of structurally-sound sandstone, a process that has been studied at UC-davis using the rock formations in utah that follow the same principle albeit on a much smaller scale. her explains that his ‘structure is made straight from the dunescape by flushing a particular bacteria through the loose sand…which causes a biological reaction whereby the sand turns into sandstone; the initial reactions are finished within 24 hours, though it would take about a week to saturate the sand enough to make the structure habitable.

 

 


organic cavities create a unique desert landscape
image © magnus larsson

 

 


bacterial construction of the dune-scape
image © magnus larsson

 

 


habitable spaces
image © magnus larsson

 

 


existing conditions
image © magnus larsson

 

 


image © magnus larsson

 

 


section
image © magnus larsson

 

 


section
image © magnus larsson

 

 


preparation of the bacteria
image © magnus larsson

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