This week, we met at the botanical gardens and were given a series of questions to think about regarding nature. The first question asked us to compare the similarities of the functions a tree performs and a building shell. I had never really stopped to think about it so it took us some time to reprogram our thought process and start thinking outside the box. It’s amazing how we get so adapted to our environments that it actually clogs our creative thinking. In the end, we were able to list quite a few similarities between the two including providing shelter, collecting and distributing water, both being built on a foundation, providing shade in the summer, and both being used as storage facilities, etc. We were also asked to make suggestions as to implementation of sustainability solutions in our surroundings. We have talked several times in our community group that recycling cans should be an option at every trash receptacle because just in our classroom alone, plastic bottles and food containers are thrown away in one trash can every day and not separated. Also, the amount of food that is thrown away could be composted instead of being thrown away to rot when it could be regenerated back into the earth. The last question asked to list ways a tree could benefit a building/business and our group suggested planting trees that would provide shade in the summer and decrease the electric bill as well as enabling more heat in the winter when the trees lost their leaves and more solar heat was able to reach the building. The leaves that fall off in autumn would be composted back into the ground surrounding the building. We also suggested collecting rainwater to use for watering of the grounds as well as being purified and used indoors for personal use.  Later in the week, we were given a problem during the Design Slam and had a limited amount of time to come up with a solution to that particular problem. Our problem was to use something in place of a door that would provide the same solutions that a door would. We had a hard time at first, just could not wrap our brains around an inventive idea as we were already so programmed to just imagine a door. Lexi suggested using leaves, almost like a curtain, which led to the possibility of bamboo since it was stronger and would provide more stability and privacy. After that, we thought of using a glass enclosure around a bamboo plant and to place it under a skylight to allow it to get sun and also to harvest the heat radiated. At the same time, it would be used as an art piece but when placed on a track, it could slide over and become a “door” to the bathroom. The backside would be open so that watering the plant could be done and it would provide greenery to the bathroom, and hopefully, use the heat harvested from the solar energy in an area that is typically full of tile and hard surfaces that are often cold. We decided to name it “Bampoo” and use it primarily as an interior bathroom door. Two other groups that stood out to me specifically in the Design Slam were the group who recycled aluminum and in doing so, made stairs from smashing layers of cans together, and the group who used occupancy sensors as a reminder to their employees that they had to get up and move around in order to keep the lights on, stay active and especially, just the reminder that it’s something we take for granted and should be at the forefront of our thoughts on a daily basis.

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