While doing an architectural project, it’s not new to architects and students to choose concepts related to nature. Architects dating as far back as ancient Greece have also tried the same. The rows of acanthus leaves in the Corinthian columns are proof of this.
Most of us take inspiration from the aesthetic forms of nature to apply in our own design. But choosing biomimicry would be to go one step further.
Biomimicry takes notes from nature and works towards an architecture that reflects on the geography and culture of its surroundings. This way, we can design buildings following a concept derived from nature not just for decor, but for functionality.
In this article we have detailed the following features of biomimicry:
Think of the Earth as a living being with perfectly working systems. When we build systems to enhance our life, it’s essential that we make sure we don’t do it at the cost of our environment. This includes the over-utilization of energy and costly expenses that also occur during the process.
By employing biomimetic solutions, we can ensure that the design is not only effective, but also hyper efficient and will never disrupt the natural flow of things.
Hump-back whales have bumps on the edge of their flippers which contributes to their incredible agility. Wind turbines inspired by these whales improved in their performance and efficiency.
By understanding and studying how nature solves problems, one can come up with solutions that encourage a symbiotic and friendly relationship with the surroundings. One way to ensure this is to design innovations which are multi-purpose and versatile and not just for solving one single problem.
Additionally, regenerative and self-healing designs should be encouraged so that we don’t further degrade the environment. Thereby, the ultimate goal of attaining maximum sustainability becomes a byproduct instead.
This building screen system opens and closes in response to sunlight (like a flower). The geometry and elasticity of the flowers played a major role in the study.
Constantly rising temperature, environmental degradation, natural disasters- all these are the consequences of the climate crisis we are currently facing.
Instead of waging a constant war against the climate to hold nature at bay, continuously expending energy (with machines like air conditioners), our interventions can take advantage of the local weather and build with vernacular materials.
In order to create a building without air conditioning, the East Gate Office in Zimbabwe adapted a natural cooling system inspired by dens.
After millions of years’ worth of evolution, every single organism on this planet has come up with unique strategies on how best to survive the conditions they live in.
There is a high chance that nature has already come up with solutions to all our problems. We just need to find ways to apply it at the right places to create efficient strategies.
Geckos climb vertically with the help of very tiny hair-like strands on the bottom of their feet called setae. Due to weak attraction between molecules, a sticking force is created between the setae and the walls. Climbing pads, mimicking this method, capable of supporting human weight are now in the making.
Not only do we need to learn to fit into nature’s cycle, but also to somehow contribute. There are ways to replenish the resources we have lost, and that’s possible only if we begin right now.
The crucial step we need to take is to create interventions that not only support human life. The fact that nature-inspired forms are scientifically proven to connect us with our surroundings is also an added advantage.
Researchers are trying to make synthetic surfaces inspired for the Stenocara beetle’s body which helps it to capture water from air. This is done with the help of grooves on the beetle’s forewings.
Biomimicry, in a nutshell, is to study and mimic the already present ways in which organisms solve their problems; to apply the processes which are found in natural environments and in species and translate it into the designing of energy efficient solutions for architecture.
Although the field of biomimicry has not advanced as fast as we would wish it did, there is still hope that these interventions will one day become a major part of our lives. Because at the end of day, we all return to square one.
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