turf division

No Foundations – Levitating City – a critique of foundations


We currently dig deep and pour concrete in order for structures to sustain. This is good for the static nature of a building, but bad news for living soil and natural environment, upon which the structure sits.

We currently don’t appreciate the soil within the city.

As a landscape architect I design solutions to make the environment better: I propose an elevated platform that allows soil, water and air to circulate. The soil is untouched and therefore protected for future generations. Water infiltrates improving the water holding capacity and aeration is enabled. flora and fauna is no longer restrained.

Soil, air and water is life.

In 2014 I wrote a blog : the levitating city and soil beneath whilst I was living in Malaysia. I experienced urban flooding, mass development, and an abundance of life restricted by the foundations on which the city was built. Their was an interesting contrast between the similarities of the mega rich tropical rainforest contrasted against the mega dense city, the ying and yang of urban development. Something was missing and the designers involved continued with the western sacrosanct design process which involved – foundations.

Levitating city and soil

A human-created space that can be rolled up and packed away leaivng no trace upon the soil, or deconstructed down to feed back into the microbiota.

Its 2020 and we are still laying the foundations for endless future issues – Its not the so called politicians often described as ‘masters of delay’ but you the designer or whoever is involved within the sacrosanct design world wehre we all beleieve we have something incredible to do – and follow this to the bitter end through delusion.

The concept is a response to the the non design and non plan approaches discussed here which minimise the need for management plan and long term strategies. They allow for stuff to happen that is beyond the control of what we know. It is fundamentally based on GI and therefore there is no plan for GI necessary. The concept will leave the environment relatively untouched and therefore minimise the need for strategy and planning,

A step outside to have a look opens up a range of simple solutions to complex issues ntheat may lead to a better place. to make it clear i wont say what is better or not but the soil air and water upon which we live seems to if in harmony provides some rest-bite and improved ‘well being’ for us.

The approach into praxis


  • collaborate with materialists and 3D printers to develop the structure
  • develop an approach with utility companies
  • collaborate with drone and and programmers to develop the spatial analysis tool


  • gather spatial open data to perform a soil and vegetation health check
  • map areas of retained soil health and safe guard
  • map potential retrofitting areas that are capable of no foundations
  • all new builds to be – above +AOD


  • model route and environment with data
  • use open source footprint model to simulate no foundation walkway
  • use model template to develop floating routes integrated with exposed utilities model.
  • develop system and feedback into data base.
  • collaborate with 3D printers to develop a suitable material
  • Future research

Exposing the utilities

As a side project to no foundations exposed utilities deals with the issue of the infrastructural veins of human environments.