Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I wish I could take Los Angeles and add two floors to every building.

In our cities, like in nature, there are parasites. Creatures and things that suck the life out of what's healthy, squeeze the beauty from every leaf, stomp out every last seedling. These places, we call suburbs.

What we lack are the epiphytes and symbyotes that can be found in the rainforests of the world. Epiphytes use existing things as pedestals; they grow on branches and stems, but do not harm their hosts. They also, however, don't necessarily help them. They're neutral. Symbyotes, on the other hand, are not only beneficial to their hosts, but necessary. Their hosts aren't hosts, instead, theyre mutual partners in an unspoken pact for survival. I wonder where in our cities the symbiotes lie and if over time, epiphytes can evolve into symbiotic creatures.

I'd like to design a structure that could go on top of already existing buildings and add extra floors for homes, stores, libraries, and gardens. Something that is affordable, made using local or repurposed materials, and could be built on site by the community. A little epiphite that could grow all over the city and eventually nourish the building below back to health.

Solar panels, bamboo, or smart cars are not the answer to the environmental problems we have created; restructuring the built environment is where it has to begin.

Upcycle, please.

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