Project Description

Project Detail


“BIOTUBE” is a plant structure. It is the combination of digital fabrication, handcraft and living plants. Allows maximizing limited space for gardening. It can be used to create a garden room, screens or disguises unwanted views, nosy neighbours and create more privacy. It also serves as a living sunscreen. The structure is environmentally friendly due to the nature of the materials being wood. Due to the lightness of the material, this compact structure is easy to transport. It can be produced anywhere using digital fabrication techniques, like the world wide spread FAB LABS. The concept stems from native basket weaving techniques which can be used as a structural system to develop different kind of three-dimensional volumes. It is easy to build by anybody, with no specific technical knowledge.

By using BIOTUBE, plants are easier to reach – makes fertilizing, watering, pruning and harvesting much more convenient and saves your back. Getting plants up and off the ground improves air circulation = healthier plants and less pest & disease problems. It also minimizes damage due to pets or wild animals digging up gardens on the ground. Some vegetables that grow on vines and take up a lot of personal space, can be trained to grow up and over the BIOTUBE in a very compact space. It is easier to obtain a more productive harvest of food crops by growing up. It softens hard or stark building and landscape surfaces by camouflaging with living green walls and other vertical design features. It creates an entrance, backdrop or framework; defines boundaries and edges; and provide a sense of enclosure or seclusion. A living natural shield can insulate a building (from heat, air pollution or noise) and help to regulate temperature by cooling and shading an area. Expand the number and kind of plants you can grow in your garden. Research has revealed that plants improve both indoor and outdoor air quality by removing harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and absorbing pollutants. Houses have been found to have consistently poorer air quality indoors than out, even with external pollution. So growing plants vertically, even in compact spaces like windowsills, balconies, front entrances and hanging in aerial space, will make a BIG difference to your health. Create ‘eye candy’ by planting at eye level with BIOTUBE vertical garden structures.

BIOTUBE is the result of experimenting wood properties for warping, bending, joining and twisting. It was developed by strips with different length, width and fiber directions to find the best performance of the structure. After assembling the main grid, the structure can be reinforced with longer pieces gradually. The simple and clever joinery system designed gave the structure the possibility to grow in height by pulling it in the longitudinal axis, as the diameter contracts. The opposite effect can be achieved by expanding the diameter, resulting in a shorter tower. The form has the flexibility of changing the shape without any adverse effect on the structure.


Sebastián Alvarado Grugiel (Costa Rica)
Rodolfo Parolin Hardy (Brazil)
Sinem Simanci (Turkey)