Bio-hybrid Landscapes; The relation between artificial ground, machine, and organic matter

Malte Emil Harrig
Education degree
School of Architecture
Study programme
Computation in Architecture





Owens Lake

Sited at Owens Lake, where a history of water management has led to severe landscape degradation and environmental problems, the project proposes a regenerative system of relations between fauna and flora, machines, and the working of the ground.

The aim of the project is to set the framework for a new ecosystem that works to process an anthropogenic landscape to a degree where design becomes an active part of the system. Looking at infrastructural changes in the way we manage our natural resources, new experiences in nature will arise. 


Time based design
Elements of design


We live in a new age, the Anthropocene, is a term of the geological age we are currently in, a time where humans have become the predominant factor in our world. Humans are influencing our local and global environment and can be traced in every part of the air, soil and water. In ecosystems different changes can be traced as well as ocean currents and air flows are having new trajectories and are anticipated to continue doing so. Nature is changing but have always done this, but in the age of the anthropocene these processes do not happen naturally but with the influence of humans to a degree that have not been seen in earlier geological ages. These influences are a result of how we live and manage the resources of  planet Earth which can be traced back to how we look upon nature in our modern society.

Biological growth simulation Vessels and landscape interventions

Biological design

The implementation of biological agents in this case will be executed by autonomous ground vehicles with the ability to plant or place seeds and spores in analyzed ideal areas to have optimal conditions, in relation to the individual organism and the system of the lake. As in nature you have many levels of activity and planning for the whole system to reach a self-sustainable state. I arid areas of the world these systems have evolved and adapted to the shortage of water, such as Owens Valley and with the fast changes that happens in the anthropocene mankind needs to help nature to reach a symbiosis.


Agent based have been used in various research to model nature-like behavior and in all scales of systems. In this project it is used generate focus areas of Owens Lake and the paths to inform the ground based vehicles. The input for the simulation environments are based on collected on site by the Malte Harrig and other actors on site for instance LADWP and GBUAPCD, The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District who for many years have done intense monitoring of the site. This information are uploaded automatically on a day to day basis and could easily be integrated in an automated maintenance system.

Data and change

Stigmergic behavior and environmental adaptability are some of the criteria that will be focused on the selection of inputs for the agent based simulation. Some of the basic behaviors used in the agent based simulations are separation, cohesion and alignment. For these simulations an image with certain meta data is needed to achieve an autonomous workflow this will be amount of living vegetation, digital elevation model and other environmental measurements such as wind, temperature and humidity.


Survey methods

As part of the research and data collection a series of drone surveys have been made in the area of Owens lake, California. This have been done with the DJI Phantom 4. The outcome of the surveys are a series of orthophoto, 3D models (.obj) with textures and digital elevation model (dem) images. The 3d model and image data is processed and the gathered data will be the input for the digital agent based design simulation. The whole operation from upload to download is automated and it is just a matter of making the algorithms to perform post-processing and the vehicles to react on this to have a fully automated system. 

In 2017-2019, KADK is working with the UN sustainable development goals
This is reflected in our research, teaching and the students’ projects. This project relates to the following UN goal(-s):
Clean water and sanitation (6)
Life on land (15)

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