I've been helping a friend to build a house
(a regular one, on the ground), which has been an arduous effort marked by disagreement
, but I had the most remarkable thought while working on it. Suppose we could use genetic engineering
to create a seed which would grow into a house. A natural house, as it were. DNA
is after all simply a roadmap
, telling cells when and where and how much to divide, and nature is filled with complex structures, some generating sturdy open spaces. Every texture one could wish to possess in a home is reflected in nature. I believe we can learn to program genes to become whatever we want, and do so without needing to rape the Earth for materials.
The treehouse of my vision would grow from the ground, large and round, vaulted on the inside. At pre-planned intervals, the solid wood of its structure would be substituted by translucent panes, such as those which make up the lens of the eye; but the exterior surface would have a thin layer like the color-changing cells of the chameleon
or the octopus
, able to become opaque with the introduction of the right stimulus. Perhaps large gossamer leaves would hang by these windows, to be pulled over them and held there with vines when darkness was desired. And when, in the night, light was needed, brightly bioluminescent
spots could be made to light up. The whole of the house remaining rooted in the ground, water would be brought up through its roots, some to retained in basins spaced for the use of the occupants. In the eating area, fresh fruits and vegetables of every variety which might be desired would grow from the walls, or on boughs extending from them. Tender leaves, crispy cruciferous treats, along with fragrant flowers for parading in one's hair, and bulbous ornaments from which nectarlike juices could perpetually be squeezed. In the areas used for washing up, pods would generate a naturally forming foaming antimicrobial sap, suitable for washing skin, hair, clothes (if clothes are to be worn).
If ever the house should be damaged by storm
, it would with appropriate care given grow back just as it was. And, as we know, some trees grow four or five hundred feet up from the ground; surely a treehouse could be made to grow forty or fifty, with a spiral staircase growing at the center by which occupants could rise from one level to the next. And all the world could live in such houses, their green canopy
roofs gathering up the power of the sun
all throughout the day, to provide in harmony for the needs of people day and night. Such a world is, actually, not so far removed from the realm of the possibility-- indeed, it could be ours, if we want it badly enough for science to be turned towards providing it.
For THE IRON NODER CHALLENGE 5: THE FERROUS FRONTIER