Living Root Bridges Of India

The ingenious (and patient) villagers of Meghalaya, India create living bridges over streams using the most green of ecologically-sensible materials - tree roots.

(Living root bridge video)

Using the roots of the Ficus elastica tree (rubber fig tree), the residents have woven an elaborate system of living bridges, some of which are thought to be over 500 years old. These extraordinary examples of living architecture are also lessons in patience, since they take about 15 years to grow. With age though, the living root bridges grow stronger and can often support the weight of 50 or more people at a time!

Some readers may think of the science-fictional buildings created by growing things, like the house trees from Jack Vance's 1954 novel The Houses of Iszm:

There were trees comprised of a central columnar trunk and four vast leaves, arching out and over to the ground to form four domed halls illuminated by the pale green transmitted light.
(Read more about Jack Vance's house trees)

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