Hyperbolic Organ

Hyperbolic Organ

Kyeong Jae Lee
Yale School of Architecture
1021a Architectural Design
Brief: Headquarters for the Center of Advancement of Science in Space
Faculty: Mark Foster Gage

“The project delves into the issues of high performance form; accumulative forms serving skin, structure, and circulation at the same time. It seeks to integrate complex spatial solids into an organic narrative defined by the site context and the program requirements, primarily through a series of strategic Boolean operations. While various geometrical families were investigated as the subject of the operation, hyperbolic paraboloids were employed to replicate an ADA accessible, smoothly transitioning surface. Parabolic surfaces extracted from the paraboloids morph into vertical members and they envelope the building to generate fluid yet pleasingly unusual spaces. The stylized form also incorporates the structural framework to establish a cohesive porosity in the middle of the super dense city.”


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Masanobu Fukuoka

Credit: Larry Korn
P.O. Box 2384
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 530-1194
FAX (510) 530-1194

Masanobu Fukuoka is a farmer/philosopher who lives on the Island of Shikoku, in southern Japan. His farming technique requires no machines, no chemicals and very little weeding. He does not plow the soil or use prepared compost and yet the condition of the soil in his orchards and fields improve each year. His method creates no pollution and does not require fossil fuels. His method requires less labor than any other, yet the yields in his orchard and fields compare favorably with the most productive Japanese farms which use all the technical know-how of modern science.

Full Text:

Masanobu Fukuoka is a farmer/philosopher who lives on the Island of Shikoku, in southern Japan. His farming technique requires no machines, no chemicals and very little weeding. He does not plow the soil or use prepared compost and yet the condition of the soil in his orchards and fields improve each year. His method creates no pollution and does not require fossil fuels. His method requires less labor than any other, yet the yields in his orchard and fields compare favorably with the most productive Japanese farms which use all the technical know-how of modern science.

How is this possible? I admit, when I first went to his farm in 1973 I was skeptical. But there was the proof – beautiful grain crops in the fields, healthy orchard trees growing with a ground cover of vegetables, weeds and white clover. Over the two-year period I lived and worked there his techniques and philosophy gradually became clear to me.

I had not heard of permaculture at the time, but I can see now that Fukuoka’s farm is a classic working model of permaculture design. It is remarkable that Fukuoka and Bill Mollison, working independently, on two different continents with entirely different environmental conditions should come up with such similar solutions to the question, “How can people on live this planet sustainably and in harmony with nature.” Both claim that the principles of their system can be adapted to any climatic area.

Mollison and Fukuoka

Perhaps Fukuoka, in his book The One Straw Revolution , has best stated the basic philosophy of permaculture. In brief, it is philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system.

–Bill Mollison in Permaculture 2

Mollison and Fukuoka took entirely different routes to get to essentially the same place. Permaculture is a design system which aims to maximize the functional connection of its elements. It integrates raising crops and animals with careful water management. Homes and other structures are designed for maximum energy efficiency. Everything is made to work together and evolve over time to blend harmoniously into a complete and sustainable agricultural system.

The key word here is design. Permaculture is a consciously designed system. The designer carefully uses his/her knowledge, skill and sensitivity to make a plan, then implement it. Fukuoka created natural farming from a completely different perspective.

The idea for natural farming came to Fukuoka when he was about twenty five years old. One morning, as he sat at sunrise on a bluff overlooking Yokohama Bay, a flash of inspiration occurred. He saw that nature was perfect just as it is. Problems arise when people try to improve upon nature and use nature strictly for human benefit. He tried to explain this understanding to others, but when they could not understand he made a decision to return to his family farm. He decided to create a concrete example of his understanding by applying it to agriculture.

But where to begin? Fukuoka had no model to go by. “‘How about trying this? How about trying that?’ That is the usual way of developing agricultural technique. My way was different. ‘How about not doing this, and How about not doing that?’ – this was the path I followed. Now my rice growing is simply sowing seed and spreading straw, but it has taken me more than thirty years to reach this simplicity.”

The basic idea for his rice growing came to him one day when he happened to pass an old field
which had been left unused and unplowed for many years. There he saw healthy rice seedlings sprouting through a tangle of grasses and weeds. From that time on he stopped sowing rice seed in the spring and, instead, put the seed out in the fall when it would naturally have fallen to the ground. Instead of plowing to get rid of weeds he learned to control them with a ground cover of white clover and a mulch of barley straw. Once he has tilted the balance slightly in favor of his crops Fukuoka interferes as little as possible with the plant and animal communities in his fields.

This is not to say that Fukuoka did not experiment. For example, he tried more than twenty different ground covers before noticing that white clover was the only one which held back weeds effectively. It also fixes nitrogen so it improves the soil. He tried spreading the straw neatly over the fields but found the rice seeds could not make their way through. In one corner of the field, however, where the straw had scattered every which way, the seedlings emerged. The next year he scattered the straw across the entire field. There were years when his experiments resulted in almost a total crop loss, but in small areas things worked out well. He closely observed what was different in that part of the field and next year the results were better. The point is, he had no preconceived idea of what would work the best. He tried many things and took the direction nature revealed. As far as possible, Fukuoka was trying to take the human intellect out of the decision making process.

His vegetable growing also reflects this idea. He grows vegetables in the spaces between the citrus trees in the orchard. Instead of deciding which vegetables would do well in which locations he mixes all the seeds together and scatters them everywhere. He lets the vegetables find their own location, often in areas he would have least have expected. The vegetables reseed themselves and move around the orchard from year to year. Vegetables grown this way stronger and gradually revert to the form of their semi-wild ancestors.

I mentioned that Fukuoka’s farm is a fine model of permaculture design. In Zone 1, nearest his family home in the village, he and his family maintain a vegetable garden in the traditional Japanese style. Kitchen scraps are dug into the rows, are crops rotated and chickens run freely. This garden is really an extension of the home living area.

Zone 2 is his grain fields. He grows a crop of rice and one of barley every year. Because he returns the straw to the fields and has the ground cover of white clover the soil actually improves each year. The natural balance of insects and a healthy soil keep insect and disease infestations to a minimum. Until Bill Mollison read The One-Straw Revolution he said he had no idea of how to include grain growing in his permaculture designs. All the agricultural models involved plowing the soil, a practice he does not agree with. Now he includes Fukuoka’s no-tillage technique in his teaching.

Zone 3 is the orchard. The main tree crop is Mandarin oranges, but he also grows many other fruit trees, native shrubs and other native and ornamental trees. The upper story is tall trees, many of which fix nitrogen and so improve the soil deep down. The middle story is the citrus and other fruit trees. The ground is covered with a riotous mixture of weeds, vegetables, herbs and white clover. Chickens run freely. This multi-tiered orchard area came about through a natural evolution rather than conscious design. It still contains many of the basic permacultural design features. It has many different plant and species, maximizes surface area, contains solar sunlight “traps” and maintains a natural balance of insect populations.

What is remarkable is that Fukuoka’s natural farming and permaculture should resemble each other so closely despite their nearly opposite approaches. Permaculture relies on the human intellect to devise a strategy to live abundantly and sustainably within nature. Fukuoka sees the human intellect as the culprit serving only to separate people from nature. The “one mountain top, many paths” adage seems to apply here.Fukuoka invites visitors from Zone 4 anytime. Wild animals and birds come and go freely. The surrounding forest is the source of mushrooms, wild herbs and vegetables. It is also an inspiration. “To get an idea of the perfection and abundance of nature,” Fukuoka says, “take a walk into the forest sometime. There, the animals, tall trees and shrubs are living together in harmony. All of this came about without benefit of human ingenuity or intervention.”

Natural farming and permaculture share a profound debt to each other. The many examples of permaculture throughout the world show that a natural farming system is truly universal. It can be applied to arid climates as well as humid, temperate Japan. Also, the worldwide permaculture movement is an inspiration to Fukuoka. For many years he worked virtually alone in his work. For most of his life Japan was not receptive to his message. He had to self-publish his books because no publisher would take a chance on someone so far from the mainstream. When his experiments resulted in failure the other villagers would ridicule his work. In the mid-1980’s he came to a Permaculture Convergence in Olympia, Washington and met Bill Mollison. There were nearly one thousand people there. He was overwhelmed and heartened by the number and sincerity of the like-thinking people he met. He thanked Mollison for “creating this network of bright, energetic people working to help save the planet.” “Now,” he said, “for the first time in my life I have hope for the future.”

In turn, permaculture has adopted many things from Fukuoka. Besides the many agricultural techniques, such as continuous no-tillage grain growing and growing vegetables like wild plants, permaculture has also learned an important new approach for devising practical strategies. Most importantly, the philosophy of natural farming has given permaculture a truly spiritual basis lacking in its earlier teachings.

Fukuoka believes that natural farming proceeds from the spiritual health of the individual. He considers the healing of the land and the purification of the human spirit to be one process, and he proposes a way of life and a way of farming in which this process can take place. “Natural farming is not just for growing crops,” he says, “it is for the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Text and images copyright 2003 Larry Korn


6 Reasons Why I Chose Clover as a Living Mulch

6 Reasons Why I Chose Clover as a Living Mulch: (click to read more)

So essentially, what I’m doing is allowing the clover to grow on the edges of my raised beds initially.  If it travels its way into the beds, that’s OK with me.  Here’s why:

  1. Less Weeding: It will prevent most weeds and grasses from forming on the walls of the raised bed
  2. Retains Moisture: Just like normal mulches, the clover will retain moisture in the soil by absorbing all of the sun before it hits the soil
  3. Withstands Traffic: It should be able to withstand the occasional traffic involved in reaching into the garden beds
  4. Nitrogen Fixer: It will fix nitrogen into the soil, which in turn benefits the plants in the raised bed
  5. Improves Soil Tilth: Clover’s root system improves friability of soil almost immediately
  6. Attracts Pollinators: Clover attracts bees, who will hopefully stick around and pollinate my fruiting vegetables as well as my nearby fruit trees & bushes

How the garden works in educating children

How the Garden Works in Educating Children

Carol Nuttall and Janet Millington
Wednesday, 20th April 2016

A child’s surroundings influence their learning. Education in the garden leads them to be more inquisitive, more hands-on, to become highly motivated, goal-orientated and aware.

Teachers in schools throughout the country are choosing the food garden to foster children’s awareness of environmental issues. First, it moves children into a landscape that many children have forgone for an indoor life. Gardens are about plants and animals and the non-living elements of the landscape; the rocks, soil, water and energy – essential topics for learning for environmental awareness. Then there are the sensitivities that we all draw from a garden that have to do with the workings of nature and our connection to it.

When a child’s knowledge of nature’s elements, its rhythms, patterns and laws is diminished, or never fully developed, we may not be able to expect a level of responsibility towards the environment from this child.

It may fall upon schools to provide this outdoor experience for the young. Schools are accepting this challenge and we are working to support them with our resource materials and workshops.

The Best for the Children

Children’s gardens celebrate childhood and their world of play and curiosity about all things. They are places in the school ground for work and play among the playthings of the earth; where the dirt, sticks and stones are abundant and where they can enjoy growing gardens to learn, in a hands-on practical way, the secrets of the natural world.

Teachers will find benefits for themselves as much as for the children when they switch on children’s learning faculties in the outdoors. The journey to find joy and inspiration in the future is upon us all.

New Demands in Education

Food issues, economic concerns, human and planetary health and future sustainability are all under intense scrutiny today. These issues are manifested in the school setting as food and health choices, obesity, teaching and learning strategies, discipline issues, environmental awareness, values and attitudes training and essential learnings to mention a few.

In a world that is being reshaped with unnerving speed, teachers will be called upon to adjust their programs to meet the goals set down by the authorities who are promoting an education for sustainable development. The message is clear. Children need new skills and attitudes for life in the 21st century.

These attributes are outlined as, “the reflective and deep thinker, the autonomous learner, the ethical and responsible citizen, and the relevant and connected learner.” (Educating for a Sustainable Future, Australian Government, 2005,18).

They are high level skills indeed and we got glimpses of them developing in the children who were engaged in gardening projects at school.

How the Garden Works

The garden works as a transformative teaching and learning device. Where children learn influences how they learn.

The garden is an opportunity for teachers in primary schools to re-instate wisdoms about teaching and learning that have been set aside in many schools today, except perhaps, for the very young in the early classes.

These experiences include experiential and inquiry learning, both intrinsic parts of an outdoor activity such as gardening and both characteristic of the way children naturally learn. These techniques are central to the development of higher order thinking skills, deeper understanding and deeper questioning.

Hands-on, direct experience in a context relevant to the child, a maxim for early childhood educators, is an appropriate learning technique for all children in all classes in the primary school. Children need to continue to explore the world around them throughout their years at school. This form of learning has its place alongside the books and computers.

Children as gardeners can become highly motivated, goal oriented and aware of where they are going and how to get there. At this stage they are likely to self-direct and initiate projects for the group. They are on their way to be autonomous learners.

In the garden, teachers can slip easily into the role of facilitator and put aside the mantle of authority in deference to the children’s sovereignty over the garden. This sharing of authority empowers children to lead and be responsible for themselves and others. The benefits for a class working together with their teacher in this way are considerable. It is the seed for democratic action.

The garden fits seamlessly into the curriculum. The garden is the curriculum. Every action in the garden has its roots in some school subject whether it be science or maths or art. For the teacher-facilitator, finding the connections is not difficult.

There is no doubt that children learn well when they are put in charge of a garden. They work in the outdoors but more often in the indoor classroom, doing the research, organising the meetings, making the decisions, documenting their work and defining skills to be learnt before the next project can begin.

Moving Learning Outside

Many schools are prepared to invest heavily in their grounds to improve the facilities for learning. For example, some schools are using The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation’s concept, which is an excellent model for getting the children gardening and cooking, but it does require considerable funding that is beyond the capacity of most schools’ budgets.

In most schools, the food garden is set up for moderate cost. The exercise need not be expensive though I do see an advantage in a capital works project that would benefit everyone at school, not only the gardeners, and that is a ‘classroom without walls’ structure in the grounds. Here teachers could gather their classes outdoors for any number of activities.

Whatever the project, big or small development of the school ground for learning is a good use of a resource that is, on hand, and largely untapped. There is great opportunity here for schools to shift direction and go forward with new vision.

We began writing Outdoor Classrooms with the following statements in mind: the modern child would need new experiences at schools to develop new skills. Teachers would need to revisit the wisdom that children learn by doing. Children would need to learn new behaviours in the outdoors and that the focus of learning would be child-centered.

We drew upon our experiences in classroom teaching, environmental education and permaculture, to produce ideas for teaching and learning for what was emerging as a new era in education.

By late 2008, the long awaited Outdoor Classrooms was ready and we moved into promotion mode. We handled book sales, ran workshops for teachers, visited schools and continued to work as we had done for many years, speaking at meetings, seminars and conferences and handling a great number of emails and calls from teachers and parents. The book is abundantly illustrated to carry the message that children need environmentally enhanced places to work, learn and play and moreover, to compensate for the ever-decreasing opportunities that they have to explore natural environments in the local area.

It contains 168 pages of authoritative insights into curriculum-connected ideas for the development of the schoolyard for learning. It leads teachers through the process of engagement and management and onto linking the outdoor activities throughout the curriculum.

It sets out skills and knowledge across twelve learning topics; Earth Resources/ Water/ Living Soils/ Climate/ Energy/ Plants/ Animals/ Trees / Landforms/ Patterns in Nature/ Buildings and Structures/Permaculture Design, at three sequential levels that will take the learning from observation and play through to understanding and research of the real world.

The book is reaching its targeted groups and the message that a school garden is a powerful teaching and learning tool for every school is spreading.

It’s All About the Children

The outdoor classrooms model is proving to benefit all children. However, there is a group who have responded to the activity in ways that are important. These are the learners, who are in every classroom, and who disengage from the activities set by their teacher. Often they are the same children who disrupt the class with bad behaviour. The stimulus and relevance of the garden, together with the physical work of handling tools is having a significant influence on these learners. They like to learn this way and they behave well. The improvement in discipline has been welcomed by teachers.

Daily Job Wheel pic


How Banana is good for you.

Boil Bananas Before Bed, Drink the Liquid and You Won’t Believe What Happens to Your Sleep

Credit: http://womansvibe.com/boil-bananas-before-bed-drink-the-liquid-and-you-wont-believe-what-happens-to-your-sleep/


We’ve all had those restless nights of tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling, unable to get more than a couple hours of shuteye. The more you worry about not sleeping, the more your mind races, and next thing you know, the sun is peeking through the window. I’ve spent one too many nights this way and needed to put an end to my poor sleeping patterns. I came across this delicious tea recipe and it improved my cycle completely.

Irregular sleeping patterns or even insomnia can stem from several different things like depression, stress and anxiety. Almost every night, I would get into bed and my mind would be racing. Whether I was thinking about work, family, or simply the things I needed to get done the next day, I just couldn’t allow myself to relax. If your mind is active, chances are you won’t fall asleep.

Certain medications can also cause insomnia. Pain medications, antihistamines, and heart and blood pressure medicines are among the many that contribute to sleep loss. Yes, some meds might actually make you drowsy at first, but they can also trigger frequent bathroom trips or anxiety which can further disturb your rest.

Whether it’s one of these issues or maybe it’s that you’re addicted to your phone when you should be sleeping, something needs to change.

Banana Tea

Using only a couple items that are likely already in your kitchen, you can whip together a banana tea in no time! This organic, banana-infused sleep remedy works wonders and tastes so good. How does it work? Bananas, especially the peels, are loaded with potassium and magnesium. While magnesium helps prevent sleep disturbances, both magnesium and potassium work together to help relax muscles. In fact, magnesium is one of the best minerals for relaxation! Keep in mind, this recipe calls for 100% organic bananas. Bananas that are not organic are loaded with harmful pesticides and since we encourage you to eat the boiled peel, it must be chemical-free.


This tea takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and can be enjoyed every night before bed.


1 organic banana

1 small pot of water

a dash of cinnamon (optional)

All you need to do is cut off both ends of the banana and place it, peel and all, into boiling water. Boil it for around 10 minutes. Using a colander, pour the water into a mug. If you’re feeling adventurous, sprinkle the cinnamon into the tea. Drink it one hour before bed time.

If you’re worried about being wasteful, you’ve clearly never had a boiled banana before! After the banana has been boiled, sprinkle some cinnamon over it. Eating the warm, gooey fruit and its peel along with the tea will increase its soothing effects… Not to mention it makes a yummy dessert!


How Nature grows plants

source: http://permaculturenews.org/2011/10/21/why-food-forests/

How Nature grows plants

We look at Nature’s system, and we copy them, so nature does our work for us, just like using earthworms to dig! That’s the spirit of Permaculture. No need for hard work

Nature grows in a highly optimised pattern, utilising multiple layers and making the most of both horizontal and vertical space.

A food forest typically is comprised of seven layers, the uppermost layer being the canopy layer. The canopy layer is comprised of tall trees — typically large fruit and nut trees. Between the tall canopy layer trees, there is a layer of low growing, typically dwarf fruit trees. Mind you, a dwarf fruit tree can be up to 4m (12’) tall, so don’t think these are necessarily very low trees! Nestled between all the small trees are the shrubs – which are well represented by currants and berries. Filling the remaining space are the herbaceous layer, these are the culinary and medicinal herbs, companion plants, bee-forage plants and poultry forage plants. Any remaining space is occupied by ground cover plants. These form a living mulch that protects the soil, reduces water loss to evaporation, and prevents weeds growing. We can still go a level deeper to the rhizosphere, or root zone, the underground level which is occupied by all our root crops, such as potatoes, carrots, ginger, yacon, etc. While that might seem like a lot of plants in one space, we still have one more to fill, the upright vertical space. This is filled by climbers and vines, which can be run up trellises, arbours, fences, trees or any other vertical support. This category includes grapes, climbing beans, many berries, passionfruit, kiwi fruit, climbing peas, chokos and many other species that love to climb.

Now there are a lot of misconceptions about what a food forest actually is that I would like to clear up.

  • Rows of trees are not food forests. They are instead what is described as an orchard.
  • Rows of trees with some other plant underneath are not food forests,  they are orchards with under-plantings.
  • Rows of trees with rows of other plants alternating between them are not  food forests, they are orchards employing intercropping.

A food forest my not necessarily have all seven layers, but it does have multiple layers, and even more importantly, it is a virtually self-sustaining living ecosystem.

In terms of form, the very thing that differentiates it from a two dimensional field of lettuce or any other monoculture is that it is a three dimensional structure.

In terms of function, being a living ecosystem gives it properties and attributes that are not present in agricultural systems and many gardens.

The benefits to be realised from food forests are as follows:

High Productivity

  • High density planting ensures high yields.
  • Biodiversity ensures continuous food supply throughout the year.

Natural Mulch, Compost & Fertilizer

  • Just like a forest, food forests are self-mulching and cover the soil on their own to retain moisture.
  • With such a high plant density, a high volume of fallen leaves accumulates and rots down to add organic matter to the soil.
  • Decomposers, the class of insects that break down organic matter, such as earthworms, wood lice (pill bugs, slaters), and  millipedes, work to help the natural composting process.

Natural Pest Control

  • No chemicals required! Food forests use natural predators to get rid of pests – letting the experts do the work, naturally.
  • Predatory insects have a permanent home (a natural ecosystem) and abundant food sources (nectar rich flowers) in a food forest. Provide these and they will come on their own! A regular veggie patch is a home only for pest insects, there’s nowhere for good bugs to live!
  • An abundant, living ecosystem will attract birds and other larger predators, further contributing to natural pest control.

Resilience Through Biodiversity – Strength in Numbers

  • Nature does not grow large areas of one plant species (or plants in neat rows either!), Nature prefers biodiversity, not monocultures! Mixing different types of plant together makes them grow better, period. It creates a natural synergy that benefits all the plants involved. The plants as a result are more resistant to pests and disease, and are more productive (and nicer to look at!).
  • The use of Companion planting allow us to recreate nature’s biodiversity to gain these benefits

Easy Soil Repair – Chop n’ Drop

  • In Nature, when plants die off, they stay in place. They’re not uprooted and binned! Don’t uproot annuals that have finished, cut the stem at soil level. The roots rot away to create thousands of intricate air and water channels in the soil. The tops of the chopped plants create a natural sheet compost system like the forest floor
  • Preserve your soil, build paths. Don’t step in your garden beds, the soil is alive!!! (It’s actually a more complex ecosystem than anything that exists above ground). Stepping in your garden beds compacts the soil, closing all the air and water channels, making it harder for water and air to reach plant roots, which impairs the growth of plants.

Putting it all together…

A Food Forest is built to emulate a real forest — only we fill it with the food plants and trees that we want.

Real forests don’t need any work, they self-maintain — no pesticides, herbicides, weeding, crop rotation, mowing or digging. Food forests don’t need any of this either! Less work, more food, all natural! Why would you do anything else?

In conclusion, if we look beyond our modernised culture to Nature’s most advanced and life-abundant plant growing systems, it is clearly evident that working with Nature is the wisest and most productive path to sustainable food production.