antifragile forest fire

14th  October 2015

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This project evokes the negative emotion towards bushfires and intend to invert them by introducing an antifragile means of dealing with bushfire. This comes from the less known basic principle that forests need fire to remain strong. In absence of fire the forest will build up fuel, and when a fire finally strikes (which will happen) it will be out of control. Some plant species need excessive amounts of heat for their seeds to open and blossom meaning they will not reproduce in the absence of fire.

Richard Fuller, a birdwatcher and conservation biologist, has recently purchased the large piece of land surrounding Wye River. He plans on retiring here. He still has some years of work left, so the building process will be long, utilising many of the natural process of the forest. His house will be made from a canopy consisting of bark and other forest debris. A protective layer forms on the above and below side of the canopy once the fire has passed. This process is called charring and the layer protects the structure from rot, insect infestation, water and, most importantly, fire. The heat generated in the process will make the individual elements the canopy is made up of expand and lock in place making is structural in many directions.

The canopy is formed by tree strippers attached to selected trees in the forest. They cut into the phloem layer of the tree, covering the bark strips in sap – making them sticky. They then attach to bark strips from neighbouring trees forming a net between the trees. This net catches all the bark, leaves and other debris falling from the canopy above, condensing over time. The areas under trick canopy will be dense, while areas exposed to the sky will be less dense – these areas become light openings as the fire will simply burn through the thin layer of the net, while it will simple charr the edge of the dense areas.