Remarkable Proposal for Handling Urbanization in the Desert

Remarkable Proposal for Handling Urbanization in the Desert

While using natural materials like wood and bamboo have further increased in popularity recently, architecture student Magnus Larsson has looked to a different kind of natural resource - sand. 

image © Francisco Anzola

When looking at the Sahara Desert, some architects propose excavating the sand to make room for urbanization. They envision cities with sand instead of grass but don't believe that the sand should hold back urban centres or housing that is seen in traditional cities. 

image © Mike Baird

image © Mike Baird

Magnus Larsson isn't like the other architects. He has recognized the threat of desertification but he believes that habitats can be created without disturbing the natural environment. Unlike other architects, he considers how the desert can become habitable just from using materials natural to the landscape.

image © Adam Baker

image © Adam Baker

With simple manipulation of the landscape, Larsson has suggested excavating sand inside the preexisting sand dunes and then using bacteria and solidified sand to make a sandstone wall. The bacteria he proposes is Bacillus pasteurii which is a micro-organism that is readily available in wetlands and is responsible for making sandstone. 

image © Hans Hillewaert

image © Hans Hillewaert

Even though there are multiple avenues that have yet to be considered with Magnus Larsson's plan, he believes that using sandstone in the desert adds roughness to the dune's surface, provides a physical support structure for trees, and it creates physical spaces that are habitable inside the sand dunes. 

Watch the video above if you're interested in learning further about Magnus Larsson's proposal for the Sahara Desert.


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