# STUDENTS /// Dune by Magnus Larsson at TED

Magnus Larsson‘s Thesis project at the Architectural Association is not so new anymore and probably many of you have seen it a while ago on BLDG BLOG or on Wired. However I don’t remember having seen the TED video on any of those sites and I therefore wanted to publish it here.

With this project, Magnus Larsson attempts to respond to the issue of desertification of Africa and the extension of the Sahara desert by introducing a bacteria on its border that dry the sand into stone. Controlled well enough, this bacteria allow to create a troglodyte city that prevent the desert from spreading any further. One can probably regret the “geometry” of this new sand/stone architecture that gives to phenomenological ambitions what it would have been probably more interesting to dedicate to pragmatism; nevertheless, this project remains very interesting and Larsson’s presentation very clear and concise:

[ted id=698]

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Fascinating idea ! Do you know if Magnus Larsson found the funds he needed to concretize his project?

Léopold Lambert

Unfortunately I don’t think so. His website has been the same for the last two years and I would think that he would have had updated it if he found some…

Stavros Papavassiliou

I’m sorry to be so negative but the only thing I find interesting about this project is the possible use of bacteria, which is also extremely underdeveloped as he is using it exactly as one could use cement which is not a living organism and can not therefore grow/multiply/die.

As much as I respect his interest in the desertification I find the architectural solution very poor as the spaces created have no sense of understanding the way of life and needs for people in the region or any programmatic value for that matter, they are mere caves.

Furthermore his fabrication technique is unresolved and doesn’t reflect his final forms. In one diagram he shows the vertical piling technique, which could work as a colleague of mine has recently submitted a similar technical studies project at the AA, but even common sense can show that just like a CNC machine he would not be able to have any undercuts, only allowing him to model some kind of horizontal surface rather than the complex spaces that he is envisioning.


The diagram itself is self-contradicting if you look at the first undercut.

All I’m saying is while I respect the enthusiasm and boldness that he has showed, I am very sceptical of accepting the resolution as a final year project in architecture, if anything it’s a pseudoscientific art project.


To Stavros Papavassiliou
I research your email. I have seen your project about Nicosia in think-space. I would like to know how you found the cadaster plan. Thanks you to answer me.

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