The Pod

    London, UK


    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 

    Competition / Unbuilt

    113 m²

    Melike Altınısık Architects - MAA


    Melike Altınışık

    Ahmet Can Karakadılar, Adham Mashaal,
    Bengü Özmutlu

    Museum of Architecture


In this anthropocentric era which we face the irrevocable effects of climate change, the importance of nature in our daily lives has not been conceived yet. The pod aims to create a dialogue between the natural systems and the man-made world by suggesting an interface born from the data stored in during the carbon capturing born from the mutualistic relationship between the trees and fungi. The interface will be formed with a sub-structure holding an organic layer composed from used coffee grounds where the fungi can grow while morphology of the root structure shapes the growth pattern.

A spatial experience around the tree will enable visitors to observe living beings that it co-exists throughout it’s lifetime. The designed structure will create unique ways of seeing the relationship between nature, nature’s architecture and human’s architecture together with the realization of how much carbon stored on the roots of the visited tree. The growth structure will be transported to it’s new location as a digital twin of the data that tree generates to showcase the importance of a mature tree raising from a pod. An assistive technologies like VR and AR will help people to connection between the nature and it’s code.


The project will be built mainly with CLT panels and on the vast ground without going deeper and close to the roots. Repeating modular CLT structures in a radial grid will be assembled at the site by interlocking each other and acting as a solid structure. The seating and circulating area will become one-piece where interlocking modules generates one arch structure floating  on the ground. Advance technologies like milling, drilling, and bending will be used on CLT panels out of situ. A sub-structure that will support the growing medium will be 


constructed from wood and can be removed after the organic layer become stiff enough. The interface where the fungi will grow from a linen sack filled with used coffee beans collected from the local shops in London will be attached to the sub-structure on the site. Opening halls and different substrates will control the interface's growth pattern to help increase fertility in certain regions. Organic materials will be collected so that they will be relatively cheap. We expected the project to stay within the budget with efficient CLT use and minimized materials use.


The project aims to provide accessibility for whole people with disabilities like walking, seeing or hearing. By mostly configuring the circulation on ground, we aim for the most of the visitors to explore the treehouse from all angles without any restrictions. The end results aims for a tactile experience for people with visual disabilities. By not only the people with visual disabilities but we expect everyone to experience a tactile sensation with the trees trunk and the installation projecting the carbon storage processes. 

Continued life, Reuse, or Recycling

The project's lifetime is designed to continue telling stories after being transported to its new location, where it will continue people showing the traces of the tree from Kew's garden. It will encourage people to visit the existing tree where the data is come from. Also, the structure projected will be based on degradable organic materials, which will create an ecosystem for the fungi and be supported with plants where the tree typically sits to offer a rich environment for other insects in the immediate environment. The structure will be reused exactly in its new location.


The project aims to use sustainable construction materials at every step. The structure will focus entirely on wooden materials apart from fixings. The growing medium will be made from used coffee ground and decay over time. We expect the project to help people understand the importance of trees in carbon storage problems to develop an awareness for the use of wooden materials, which support afforestation throughout the world for a sustainable future. Other than that, we hope the whole design and its process become a promising example of how architects, engineers, and scientists work together.