magnus larsson sculpts the saharan desert with bacteria
magnus larsson sculpts the saharan desert with bacteria magnus larsson sculpts the saharan desert with bacteria
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



image © magnus larsson



image © magnus larsson



preparation of the bacteria
image © magnus larsson

  • creepy

    dbkii says:
  • The bacteria product happens to be Bio Seal ?

    Gabriela Pallares says:
  • very good idea to develop desert zone , vegetation will come back ……

    françois robidas designer says:
  • Please don´t touch nature as a nice background. Just tell your friends about your modern idea and have a drink.

    Not Good says:
  • What I am seeing her that what I had dream with for years if this technique will com trough, I had rout to g+, smart plant and astronomy about how we must tern our attention towered the deserts and make it our home and leave Europe and make lt our food source and save the forest from the envision of Primitively acting people and merge humanity for promotion and homogenization of culture and ability by making the desert home for all the humanity.

    Adnan S, Zachi Alhilaly says:
  • I really think that could lead to a dangerous outcome….. One question… how can you limit the bacteria from spreading?……. would turn the dunes into a rocky zone?…. it could generate a globally climate change?………. This note is from 2009…. where the helll is Marcus???…. I hope it did some thinking before selling this stupid idea… why?…. because the desert people don’t need a chill out zone…..

    johnny be good says:
  • As i understand it the bacteria needs to be ‘fed’ in order to work, so if you stop feeding it, it’ll die and therefore you can control its spread.
    the idea is to generate a global climate change. desertification is a global threat and anyway of introducing vegetation to the most arid areas of the planet will counteract the devastating affects of desertification.
    As for desert people dont need a chill out zone… really?!!!?!

    2000 years ago Africa was a green continent, lets but it back to how it was, but better

    theLEGOjosh says:

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