The Tree Path is the name of the new project designed by CRA – Carlo Ratti Associati in collaboration with the non-profit organization GAL: an elevated route for pedestrians and cyclists supported by more than a thousand trees.
The sensor-augmented pathway leads to Sabbioneta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Italy and was developed in close collaboration with OLA, the leading experts in a construction technique (Baubotanik) that employs trees as architectural and structural elements.
The Tree Path is an elevated bicycle route that runs in-between trees, resting on two parallel rows of plants that act as pillars; the sensors embedded within the greenery track environmental conditions in real-time.
The project envisions planting roughly one thousand trees and the plants would grow around a stainless-steel handrail, building and transforming the path structure over the course of several years.
The Tree Path unfolds vertically on three different levels, rising up to six meters above the ground, bypassing road traffic and waterways. Carlo Ratti comments:
“What if one day we could grow architecture like a tree? We are still very far from that future, but we can start exploring the convergence between the natural and the artificial. We can use trees as elements of construction, while leveraging the data from digital technologies to get a better understanding of the surrounding environment.”