Lundén Österlund Wikar / FIN
NILAs – work in progress
“NILAs” is a sculpture that represents an approach to building systems where skin, structure, and technical appliances are all integrated into one responsive building tissue.
“Nila” is a Finnish word for phloem, the living tissue that carries organic nutrients to all parts of the plant where needed.
The epidermis is a single-layered group of cells that forms a boundary between the plant and the external environment. The epidermis serves several functions; it protects against water loss, regulates gas exchange, secretes metabolic compounds, and (especially in roots) absorbs water and mineral nutrients.
“NILAs” is a crossbreed of these two natural elements. Our simplified model of natural structures combines the cellular structure of phloem tissue and the protective and responsive qualities of epidermis and bark. The object represents an approach to building systems of the future where the border between the built and the natural will no longer exist.
Our vision is that in the future we will be able to build structures where energy, water, waste, and information flow and connect organically inside bio-engineered structures.
Even though the “NILAs” construction represents imitated natural processes, in the end, it is a sculpture made by hand and processed through the lenses of our culture.
For us, the future of architecture lies in rethinking our attitude towards the entire construction process. Instead of working against nature and making buildings out of dead material, we need to begin to understand nature better and to create structures and habitats that thus have a symbiotic and interconnected relationship with nature.

Photo: Lundén Österlund Wikar

More information about the exhibition and the other models