Coral forms when small creatures grow, encasing their bodies in a calcium-carbonate shell. They live, die, and then the next generation live on the dead shells of the previous generation. Most coral colonies grow upwards between 1 and 10cm per year. However, this is under natural conditions with rough
seas and predators in effect.
A form of coral and supporting zooxanthellae are bred/selected for their fast-growth, and tolerance to high-humidity conditions, rather than strictly under-water ones.
The method of construction is to set the foundation, and then to plant wall-seeds using pieces of the living coral. The building site is roofed off and a fine mist of water, richly infused with a delicious mixture of plankton, algae and construction material, provides food and building materials for the coral. UV lamps are housed in the top of the roofed area in order to encourage the coral to grow upwards.
All run-off water is collected and sent round again to minimize the loss of water in the process. This also assists in the coral's reproductive cycle.
Architectural features are created by shielding the growing coral from either light and/or food. Since the coral should grow in an upward-and-outward fashion, all ceilings would be vaulted. Flat surfaces can be made by placing flat, grids of poisonous material that kills coral on contact and shaving off any pieces that manage to poke through. Other methods can be employed to manage the growth of the coral in the desired manner.
Once the building is finished, the housing is dismantled and the house is ready to be outfitted (though at many stages (i.e. plumbing, wiring etc) the outfitting could have already been installed and the coral allowed to grow up around it.
By changing the composition of the minerals in the water, different colours and properties could be given to the building material. Post growth, sealant materials and other preparations can be sprayed onto the structure to provide it with suitable waterproofing etc.
The advantage of building in this manner is that once the housing is set up, few workers need to attend the site, the coral grows by itself, and need only be coaxed or tended by a single person in order to achieve the desired results. For these reasons, apart from the exciting new organic architectural look, the property is also much cheaper to build than using traditional labour and materials.-- zen_tom,
Nov 28 2004
http://www.seaworld...o/info-books/coral/Stuff about coral [zen_tom, Nov 28 2004]
http://www.uvi.edu/...reefer/zooxanth.htmnever heard about them before today... [zen_tom, Nov 28 2004]
Coral reef villa.
http://www.halfbake...oral_20Reef_20Villa[spacemoggy]'s take on the subject. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Nov 28 2004]
http://www.halfbake...m/idea/Enviro-creteCoral concrete (much less science in description) [Zimmy, Nov 29 2004]
http://images.googl...p&resnum=4&ct=title [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Feb 14 2009]
While I'm not sure you could find coral that would grow out of water, there's nothing to stop you flooding the house site while you, er, build.
But a delightful idea.-- DrCurry,
Nov 28 2004
How is this not redundant with the idea "Coral Reef Villa"? Seems the same to me.-- krelnik,
Nov 29 2004
Yes, they are very similar, the best I can come up with as a differentiating property is that the corals used here are bred to survive in a fine mist of nutrient-loaded water, this removes the need for submerging the entire site (which is likely going to cost as much as building the whole thing in the first place)
While using corals that can cope in these conditions might attract magic, or bad-science tags - I imagine the concept doesn't stretch the bounds of genetic engineering or nanotechnology too far, does it?
Though I'm willing to accept reasoned redundancy, magic and or bad-science markings, I like this idea enough to risk leaving it up for a little longer.
Quedos to [spacemoggy] for 'Coral Reef Villa' and also to [Zimmy] for 'Enviro-Crete'-- zen_tom,
Nov 29 2004
Baked by Larry Niven in his novel, "A Gift From Earth."
One of his more obscure works, though, so no pies for having missed it.
You go into better detail discussing the mechanics of the process. Bun.-- elhigh,
Mar 07 2006
Construction time not to exceed 1000 years.-- WcW,
Feb 15 2009