The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W17
29 Nov 2019
 | 29 Nov 2019


W. Middleton, Q. Shu, and F. Ludwig

Keywords: photogrammetry, living architecture, living root bridges, Baubotanik

Abstract. Living Root Bridges (LRBs), grown by rural Khasi and Jaintia communities in Meghalaya (India), are the best known example of functional living architecture. Over 70 bridges, as well as ladders, pathways and platforms have been grown from a single species (Ficus elastica), using a collection of construction methods in regionally specific environmental conditions. In general, living architecture exhibits geometric complexity for which documentation and representation tools are yet to be established. Photogrammetric surveys provide data-rich point clouds which could be useful for analysis and design specific to living architecture. This study provides the first photogrammetric surveys of LRBs. Useful point clouds were produced for several bridges, as well as joint details. The method is found to have a range of benefits: providing detailed views, showing environmental conditions, and allowing for time analyses. The wider application of photogrammetry to living architecture is discussed, particularly with regards to Baubotanik structures and the improved documentation and representation of LRBs as a unique architectural typology. The need for developing a tool for topological model extraction, and possible methods therein is discussed.