TreeHuggerCyprus: The Eco-Systemic Prototypical Urban Intervention by the United Nations Buffer Zone for DIY


Figure 1: TreeHuggerCyprus: Responsive Wood Insect Hotel that offers  a variety of climatic and spatial conditions to be met with diverse insects’ preferences. This is achieved  by global axis orientation, the shape of the hotel and cutting the panels from different positions of the tree trunk. Please also take note of the social communication and engagement through exhibited GAGA-Maps and QR Code. (Photo: Davidová 2018)

1           Project Introduction

The eCAADe RIS workshop at the Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus by Collaborative Collective is a local and participative adaptation of similar project in Prague with the same name, the TreeHugger (see Figure 1). Offering hands on experience of prototyping and placing into public space the responsive wood insect hotel’s workshop relates to local environmental, social and political parameters as well as the skills and interests of its participants. This eco-systemic ‘prototypical urban intervention’ (Davidová, 2004; Doherty, 2005) takes place at one of the trees near by  the United Nations Buffer Zone in Nicosia. The very difficult political-urban situation gave birth to rich bio-topes on a bio-corridor within the, otherwise very anthropocentric, city centre of Nicosia, Cyprus. The research addresses the landscape ecologists’ discussion that our agricultural land has become so toxic (i.e. use of pests) that many species, that had adapted to them hundreds years ago, are recently adapting for the life in the cities. Nearly 80% of flying insects in biomass have disappeared since eighties/nineties in Western Europe from our landscape (Vogel, 2017). In similar percentage follows the decrease of birds that eats them (Czech Ornithologists Association, 2016). As architectural researchers addressing such data, we claim that we need to adapt our anthropocentrically evolved cities for the co-living situation with other species across the communities.


Figure 2: GIGA-Mapping of Collected Data (Photo: Kontovourkis 2018)


Figure 3: Resolving Grasshopper Code (Photo: Davidová 2018)

The hands on started with, in this case analogue, process-based diagramming, so called ‘GIGA-Mapping’ (Davidová, 2014; Sevaldson, 2011, 2013, 2015), of the participatory and local environmental properties, using on site registered and measured data, questionnaires of locals and environmental agencies and web search (see Figure 2). Afterwards the hands on continued with adjusting former TreeHugger’s Grasshopper code to the local tools and local and design specific parameters (see Figure 3). Next to the above mentioned, the participants explored the responsive solid wood digital fabrication skills, critical public space eco-systemic intervention skills and most importantly, the performing and interacting prototype’s observations registrations. When intervening the public space, they did and needed to- engage with the locals. Engaging them into the project generates co-design and avoids vandalism. We introduced variety of observational tools that can serve to generation of another analytical multi-media GIGA-Map and this research’s further exploration.

The QR code with a link to our blog with post with the prototype’s Grasshopper code and an explanation is engraved into the prototype for the local communities to DIY under Creative Commons Non-Commercial Use Licence (Creative Commons, 2017) across the borders and the process GIGA-Map will be exhibited for learning and interaction. Since it is difficult for humans to cross, they might interact through generating exchangeable habitats of other species. Through questioning the transitions across the (eco-)systemic boundaries, we propose to question the political, when considering humans taking part of, also the eco-systemic, struggles from the bottom up!

Note: For our application in Prague, please, see the papers ‘TreeHugger: The Eco-Systemic Prototypical Urban Intervention’ (Davidová & Prokop, 2018) and  ‘COLridor: Co-Design and Co-Living for Sustainable Futures’ (Davidová & Zímová, 2017) or our facebook page ‘COLridor’ (Davidová, 2017).

For the Cyprian adaptation, we kindly than to the participants Panagiota Konatzii and Michalis Psaras to start the project one month before with their research on a tree selection and resolving its allowance from the local authorities.

2           Envisioned Outcome

The eco-systemic prototypical urban intervention should follow similar mode as the TreeHugger insect hotel responsive wood prototype from Prague (Davidová & Prokop, 2018; Davidová & Zímová, 2017). This all was to be adjusted to local environment (eco-systemic: natural, social and cultural), tools and participatory characters and skills that was available on place. The GIGA-Map documenting the design process is exhibited next to the prototype for participatory interaction. The performance registering from the last day of the conference will be discussed and possibly used for the digital GIGA-Map after the conference.

The project is to better the local natural, social and cultural environment. The following code and manual invites you to build your own TreeHugger in and with your community, adjusted to your local environment. DIY!

3           DIY Manual

3.1         Download the Code

The code is written for Rhino 6 (Robert McNeel & Associates, 2018) to be open there in Grasshopper (Davidson, 2017). Download its evaluation version here.

Please, download it here.

3.2         Follow the Story Boards


Figure 4: Design Process Story Board (Psaras 2018)

2nd Storyboard_v0.png

Figure 5: Prototyping Process Story Board (Psaras 2018)

3.3         Always Refer and Place the Our QR Code


Figure 6: QR Code to the Link to This Post (Davidová 2018)

Please, download it here: qr-code

4           Terms of Use

Please, note, this project is provided under Creative Commons Non-Commercial Use Licence (Creative Commons, 2017):

4.1         You are free to:

Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

4.2         Under the following terms:

Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

5           Workshop Tutors:

Marie Davidová, MArch, Ph.D.

Ing. Arch. Šimon Prokop

6          Site Analysis for Tree Pre-Selection and Permission Negotiation:

Panagiota Konatzii

Michalis Psaras

7           Workshop Participants:

Panagiota Konatzii

Michalis Psaras

Stefanos Kyprianou

Marko Vucic


Creative Commons. (2017). Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International — CC BY-NC 4.0. Retrieved December 9, 2017, from

Czech Ornithologists Association. (2016). The Annual Report of the Czech Ornithologists Association / Výroční zpráva České společnosti ornitologické 2016 Prague. Retrieved from

Davidová, M. (2004). Gary Doherty: On Spatial Dialogues. Stavba, 5(6), 18.

Davidová, M. (2014). Generating the Design Process with GIGA-map: The Development of the Loop Pavilion. In B. Sevaldson & P. Jones (Eds.), Relating Systems Thinking and Design 2014 Symposium Proceedings (pp. 1–11). Oslo: AHO. Retrieved from

Davidová, M. (2017). COLridor. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from

Davidová, M., & Prokop, Š. (2018). TreeHugger: The Eco-Systemic Prototypical Urban Intervention. In O. Kontovourkis (Ed.), 6th eCAADe RIS 2018 Proceedings (pp. 1–10). Nicosia: University of Cyprus. Retrieved from

Davidová, M., & Zímová, K. (2017). COLridor: Co-Design and Co-Living for Sustainable Futures. In B. Sevaldson (Ed.), Relating Systems Thinking and Design 6: Environment, Economy, Democracy: Flourishing Together (pp. 1–20). Oslo: Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Retrieved from

Davidson, S. (2017). Grasshopper – algorithmic modeling for Rhino. Retrieved October 6, 2017, from

Doherty, G. (2005). Prototypes in Pinkenba. In Nordes 2005 – In the Making (Vol. 1, pp. 1–5). Kopenhagen: Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Retrieved from

Robert McNeel & Associates. (2018). Rhino 6 for Windows. Retrieved May 24, 2018, from

Sevaldson, B. (2011). GIGA-mapping: Visualisation for complexity and systems thinking in design. Nordes ’11: The 4th Nordic Design Research Conference, 137–156. Retrieved from

Sevaldson, B. (2013). Systems Oriented Design: The emergence and development of a designerly approach to address complexity. In J. B. Reitan, P. Lloyd, E. Bohemia, L. M. Nielsen, I. Digranes, & E. Lutnaes (Eds.), DRS // CUMULUS 2013 (pp. 14–17). Oslo: HIOA. 978-82-93298-00-7

Sevaldson, B. (2015). Gigamaps: Their role as bridging artefacts and a new Sense Sharing Model. In Relating Systems Thinking and Design 4 (pp. 1–11). Banff: Systemic Design Research Network. Retrieved from

Vogel, G. (2017). Where have all the insects gone? Science, 5(6355), 1–4.


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