05. 28. 2008
Green tech: Plant yourself in London and walk in the treetops
The garden gnomes at London's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, have built a walkway through the trees nearly 60 feet off the ground. Dang. The exchange rate is probably going to prevent me from treetop walking this summer at least, but it's got to be an extraordinary experience.
The walkway is also structurally extraordinary. The walkway design, carried out in steel, is said to be based on the Fibonacci number sequence. (Starting with 1, each new number in the sequence is the sum of the two before it: 2, 3, 5,8,13..... No prize if you can figure out the next one.)
Here's what the Kew says about it:
The ratio provides a perfectly proportioned growth pattern. This sequence is used for the spacing of the connection points for the diagonals of the walkway trusses. The 12m long trusses are connected to circular nodes which are in turn supported by pylons. It provides a seemingly random, natural appearance that in fact comes from a clear underlying geometry.
A slightly spooky aspect of the Fibonacci number sequence is that it's not uncommon in nature, for example in plant branching patterns and number of petals on some flowers.