Biomimicry in architecture
Design stems from nature and here man can find the solutions to many of his problems. The careful construct or imitation of the systems, typologies and features of flora and fauna for arriving at complex design solutions is called Biomimicry. Aping the design of trees, animal abodes or naturally formed structures like stalactites or even stimulating processes that occur in nature for building solutions is referred to as Biomimicry in architecture. There are several exceptional examples of biomimicry buildings around the World by designers who researched a phenomena in nature and adapted them in architectural design. Let’s study these incredible structures.
Esplanade Theatre, Singapore
The Esplanade Theatre façade, designed to react to sunlight at different times of the day, is inspired from the spiky thorns of the skin of the Durian plant. This prickly skin, protects the fruit inside from weather influences, similarly the theatre’s exterior adjusts throughout the day to allow natural or diffused light while preventing glare and thus prevents the building from overheating.
Eastgate Centre, Zimbabwe
Much like the termite mounds which are designed to regulate temperature to keep the fungus alive which is the main food of insects, the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe uses the principle to circulate air flow inside through chimneys which continue from ground to top level of the building thus maintaining cool temperatures inside passively.
Lotus Temple, India
The lotus flower served as inspiration to create this temple in New Delhi India. The temple is one of the first in the capital city to be run by solar power, generated by panels on the building. A quarter of the temple’s total electricity is thus generated by renewable energy saving the complex 120000 Rs. Every month. Made of concrete slabs and cladded with marble, surrounded by water bodies and vegetation on all sides, the landscape makes the microclimate cooler.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The tallest skyscraper in the world, sure looks beautiful, inspired by the hymenocallis flower, but required 110,000 tons of concrete and 55,000 tons of steel to make this 828 m high mega structure. It however claims to use 15 million gallons of sustainably collected water to cool the centrally conditioned building, for the surrounding landscape and for the Dubai fountain.
Bird’s Nest Stadium, China
Replicating the form of a bird’s nest, the stadium in Beijing of the same name is designed with curved steel beams to make the façade. The porous parts of this structure are lined with inflatable cushions much like barks of the tree which the bird’s use to cover the gaps to protect themselves from cold weather and rains.
Structures and processes in nature are sustainable and deriving design concepts from these is a way of employing sustainability in architecture. The incredible examples above further prove that designs derived from nature are bold and aesthetic. Be it in facades, passive cooling or heating solutions, services or the mechanics of a building, biomimicry is a tool to positively imitate eco-friendliness and climate consciousness practices that nature observes.
Jamila is one part artist, two parts foodie, and all parts traveler. She is a patron of good art and design and loves to immerse herself in books and music. Simplicity and minimalism is her motto as an architect. A writing enthusiast, she surrounds herself with all things creative. She actively shuns all “ists” and “isms” and firmly believes in a “no – label” world! She isn’t afraid to take risks, speak her mind, push forward and challenge preconceptions. She is currently pursuing Masters in Architecture at the University of Liechtenstein.