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Architecture learnt from the nature

‚The architectural profession is rapidly embracing digital design technologies developed and applied in the framework of biologically inspired processes. Put simply, nature is the largest laboratory that ever existed and ever will.‚

Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Lilypad - by Vincent Callebaut , is a floating eco-town that can accommodate over 50,000 people. The name shows that the design was developed from the form of a lilypad. It is powered by renewable energy, and has a freshwater lagoon that collects and purifies rain water. Homes, offices, and malls fill the mountainous designs.

What is Biomimicry? Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new discipline that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. All the living organisms in this world are engineers. Every living thing has its own way of solving problems. It can be translated as ‚innovation inspired by nature‛ Nature has already solved many of the problems that we are battling with. They know what is appropriate and what will help them survive in this world. After 3.5 billion years of development and years of research by all the scientists in this world the secret still surrounds us. What is this secret? Survival! Humans have been looking at nature, studying nature for several years to solve small and big prob-

lems. And have always succeeded by studying the nature to solve these issues. This home, this world is our home but it also houses hundreds

‚Art of imitating biological ideas to solve human problems‛

of other living organisms that have no one to look after them and still are able to survive in this ‚survival of the fittest‛ world. The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Biomimicry is very different from other bio studies because it teaches us what to learn from the organisms and eco systems rather than extract materials from them. Bio m im ic ry d if fers greatly from bio utilization, which entails harvesting a product or producer, e.g. cutting wood for floors, wild crafting medicinal plants. It is also distinctly different than bioassisted technologies, which involve domesticating an organism to accomplish a function, e.g., bacterial purification of water, cows bred to produce milk. If we want to consciously emulate nature's genius, we need to look at nature differently. In Biomimicry, we look at nature as model, measure, and mentor.

‚Survival is the biggest secret of biometrics‛

Nature as model: Biomimicry is a new science that studies nature’s models and then emulates these forms, process, systems, and strategies to solve human problems – sustainably. The Biomimicry Guild and its collaborators have developed a practical design tool, called the Biomimicry Design Spiral, for using nature as model. Nature as measure: Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the sustainability of our innovations. After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature has learned what works and what lasts. Nature as measure is captured in Life's Principles and is embedded in the evalute step of the Biomimicry Design Spiral. Nature as mentor: Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but what we can learn from it.

The design of water lines in most of the cities all over the world was inspired by the veins on a leaf. The veins on the leaf are continuous and transfer water to all parts of the leaf.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Biometrics When? Who? and Why? Biomimicry is a design discipline, a branch of science, a problem -solving method, a sustainability ethos, a movement, a stance toward nature, a new way of viewing and valuing biodiversity. Biometrics started since the age of early man when he started making shelter for himself after looking at the other organisms. Since then homo sapiens have studied different living organisms to learn their methods of living and surviving in this world. They observed animals and mimicked their hunting and survival behaviors. In the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci used biomimicry and started drawing flying machines by watching the birds flying in the sky. Even the Wright brothers spent time observing birds in flight and applied some of those principles to their airplane designs. Biomemetics is nothing but the transfer of ideas from biology to technology. Biomimicry was popularized by scientist and author Janine Benyus in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Biomimicry is defined in the book as a "new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems". Benyus suggests looking to Nature as a "Model, Measure, and Mentor" and emphasizes sustainability as an objective of biomimicry. The basic philosophy behind the discipline is that nature has

already solved many of the challenges we are struggling with – such as sustainable energy and climate control – and that by mimicking time evolved natural designs humans can find sustainable solutions. Many of the mechanisms and systems found in nature are highly efficient, eschew waste, and are sustainable in a virtually closed system. Biomimicry fits well with many eco-design solutions that ultimately set out to develop technologies and buildings that fit seamlessly into natural eco-systems.

Da Vinci used biomimicry and started drawing flying machines by watching the birds flying in the sky

Da Vinci used biomimicry and started drawing flying machines by watching the birds flying in the sky

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Biometrics in Architecture? Enough of science now. Let’s jump right in and discuss about how biometrics is helpful in architecture. How does it help us to understand an architect's design problems? Will these biometric studies help us solve these issues? Does it offer us those clean energy building solutions? There are innumerable number of questions in the field of architecture and many of them have always been solved by studying references. Case studies as we call them. Each building before it was made must have had a reference. And that building a reference for it. Each building is a reference for other building and vice versa. If we follow this thread back to the beginning of time the first reference is nature itself! Biomimicry is a design approach in which nature’s technology is infused with the human environment. We can use this help from the nature to create spectacular designs. We should stop learning about the natural world. Instead we should start from them. The answers to our questions are everywhere. If we could learn to make things and do things the way nature does, we could achieve factor 10, factor 100, maybe even factor 1,000 savings in resource and energy use. Biomimicry offers architects a whole new system to design by. A system that will produce not only radically more efficient and effective structures, with great savings

on material and energy costs, but also stunningly beautiful buildings that will instigate the 'bilbao effect' wherever they are located.

Biomimetic design spiral

Skyscraper that takes the idea of a tree as an entire living system.

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Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

‚Leonardo da Vinci was an early pioneer of the concept of biomimicry in his attempts to build a flying machine based on his study of birds.‛

Different levels of design in Biomimicry: Organism Level:

. Matthew Parkes’ Hydrological Center for the University of Namibia and the Namibian Desert beetle.

Different species of living organisms on the earth have been evolving continuously for millions of years. Those organisms have devised new ways to survive on earth. The have created for themselves different survival mechanisms and have adapted to constant changes over time. The research and development has been done by nature. Hence humans have a wide solution sheet in front of themselves to solve problems cause in society. Same problems that could have been solved by other living organisms. These organisms solve problems in energy effective ways totally opposite from what we do. This is helpful for us to understand how they behave according to the climate changes .

An example is the mimicking of the Namibian desert beetle, The beetle lives in a desert with negligible rainfall. It is able to capture moisture however from the swift moving fog that moves over the desert by tilting its body into the wind. Droplets form on the rough surface of the beetle’s back and wings and roll down into its mouth. Matthew Parkes of KSS Architects demonstrates process biomimicry at the organism level inspired by the beetle, with his proposed fog-catcher design for the Hydrological Center for the University of Namibia. Mimicking and organisms is different from mimicking an eco system. By mimicking at organism level we can learn how that will behave in the eco system.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Behavior Level: Many living organisms living on the face of the earth encounter similar problems the way humans do. They solve those problems in their own ways. These organisms tend to work in certain environmental conditions and depend on energy and material availability required for them to perform these tasks. The organisms which learn how to survive in this environment evolve. This all depends on the type of behavior that the organism exhibits in the environment. Not only do well adapted living organisms evolve but also the organisms that learn how to evolve by watching the behavior from other organisms. Humans can learn from these living organisms about their behavior and how these organisms are able to change their environments while creating more capacity for life in that system. In behavior level Biomimicry, it is not the organism itself that is mimicked, but its behavior. It may be possible to mimic the relationships between organisms or species in a similar way. An architectural example of process and function biomimicry at the behaviour level is demonstrated

by Mick Pearce’s East gate Building in Harare, Zimbabwe and the CH2 Building in Melbourne, Australia. Both the buildings can be seen in the picture below. Both buildings are based in part on techniques of passive ventilation and temperature regulation observed in termite mounds, in order to create a thermally stable interior environment. Behavior level mimicry requires ethical decisions to be made about the suitability of what is being mimicked for the human context. Not all organisms exhibit behaviors that are suitable for humans to mimic. It may be more appropriate to mimic specific building and survival behaviors that will increase the sustainability and regenerative capacity of human built environments rather than mimicking that could be applied to social or economic spheres without careful consideration. It may be more appropriate to mimic whole systems rather than single organisms in this regard.

Eastgate Building in Harare, Zimbabwe and CH2 Building in Melbourne, Australia

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Ecosystem Level: The term Ecomimicry has also been used to describe the mimicking of ecosystems in design. An advantage of designing at this level of biomimicry is that we can also understand other levels of biomimicry (organism and behaviour). The Australian developed BiolytixÂŽ system mimics soil based decomposition to treat grey and black water and again integrates actual worms and soil microbes into the process . The most important advantage of such an approach to biomimetic design however may be the potential positive effects on overall environmental performance. Ecosystem based Biomimicry can operate at both a metaphoric level and at a practical functional level. At a metaphoric

Dog Building, Tirau, New Zealand

level, general ecosystem principles are able to be applied by designers with little specific ecological knowledge. If the built environment was designed to be a system and was expected to behave like an ecosystem even if only at the level of metaphor, the environmental performance of the built environment may increase.

Biomimicry to increase sustainability: Biomimicry is often described as a tool to increase the sustainability of human designed products, materials and the built environment. It should be noted however that a lot of biomimetic technologies or materials are not inherently more sustainable than conventional equivalents and may not have been initially designed with such goals in mind. As discussed, most examples of biomimicry are organism biomimetic. While biomimicry at the organism level may be inspirational for its potential to produce novel architectural designs, the possibility exists that a building as part of a larger

system, that is able to mimic natural processes and can function like an ecosystem in its creation, use and eventual end of life, has the potential to contribute to a built environment that goes beyond sustainability and starts to become regenerative). This does not prevent organism biomimicry at a detail or material level. A building that is exhibiting form biomimicry, which is stylistically or aesthetically based on an organism, but is made and functions in an otherwise conventional way, is unlikely to be more sustainable than a non-biomimetic building.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

How do we apply Biomimicry in to buidings? There are 10 simple and straight lessons we can learn from nature and apply to all things; including science, technology, buildings and our lives.

gineered from photocells , a life like chemical system that can make an artificial shell type material which is very strong in its nature.

1. Use waste as a resource 2.Diversify and cooperate to fully use the habitat 3. Gather and use energy efficiently 4.Optimize rather than maximize 5.Use materials sparingly 6.Don't foul their nests 7.Don't draw down resources 8.Remain in balance with the biosphere 9.Run on information 10.Shop locally Arup Group Limited is a multinational professional services f i r m h e a d q u a r t e r e d in London, United Kingdom. Architect Mick Pearce worked with them and created a termite-inspired ventilation system to cool a building in Harare, Zimbabwe. Instead of airconditioning the Eastgate building is modeled on the self-cooling mounds of termites that maintain the temperature inside their nest to within one degree of 31 °C, day and night while the external temperature varies between 3 °C and 42 °C. Another example of this on a bigger scale comes from researcher and lecturer Rachel Armstrong. The city of Venice is sinking in to the mud where its foundations are based. To stop it from sinking they are growing artificial limestone reef under the foundations. The limestone reef is en-

An exterior view of the termite inspired building , East gate centre and office block in Harare, Zimbabwe.

A rendering of lime reef underneath the foundation. The process will take a very long time.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Biomimicry in India? Settled in a picturesque landscape and spread over 12,500 acres is a town of Lavasa which is about 2 hours drive from Mumbai. It is a town that is soon becoming a holistic and planned destination where visitors in very large numbers are expec ted. HOK International has worked on the township planning with biomimicry as their guiding principle to design this wide-spread development. The project will be in harmony with locally available biology as well as climatology. The team at HOK has developed an overall master plan for the town with included landscape plans to minimize deforestation. The development is expected to complete in the year 2020 and will include five planned urban villages that can accommodate a population of 30,000 to 50,000 people. The planning team has made conscious effort to integrate local traditional principles of planning and tie it with indigenous forms of buildings and sustainable built environment as opposed to replicating the western model of urban settlements. This development relies heavily on sustainability principles of energy conservation, reduction in demand of virgin resources and waste diversion. The project has already garnered several awards such as Award of Honor in Analysis and Planning (Dasve Village Master Plan)

Architects' rendering of the futuristic city of Khed, India, to be built based on the concept of biomimicry.

Lavasa, A hill city in Pune is the world’s first city to set standards using Biomimicry.

– American Society of Landscape Architects for its fresh and holistic approach, and giving nature its chance to teach sustainable human settlement through biomimicry. The importance that sustainability has gained in current times is something all built environment professionals need to take into account. In an ideal sustainable world, there will be no waste and use of only recyclable materials as that is how the nature and ecosystem was designed. It’s time for us to take the cue from it design our man-made ecosystem.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Some of the building designs that were inspired from nature:

MAD Architects have designed a tower and hotel to be built in Beijing inspired by the Honeycomb nature of Beehives. The impressive hexagonal facade also acts as the building's main structural support, allowing the building's interior to be more open and light. MAD Architects said that the building was "natural, organic and futuristic.

The stark white exterior of the Shell Villa curves around itself in a clear yet subtle imitation of its

In a worst-case scenario world where the earth is so flooded, there’s little land left for human civilization, ocean cities could provide a safe haven. This concept is not just a single floating city, but a collection of ‘organisms’, clearly inspired by jellyfish. The entirely self-contained cities have trailing appendages performing different energy and waterrelated functions, drawing in seawater to desalinate or collecting energy from waves.

Tent structure inspired from vein structure of leaves

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

The built environment is increasing held accountable for global environmental and social problems with the generated proportions of waste, material and energy use and green house gas emitted in to the atmosphere. It is becoming increasingly clear that a change must be made in our environment. How it should be created and maintained. By mimicking life, we can make self sustaining eco systems by learning form natures processes. These processes can be developed leading to a very good eco system in our world which can be very exciting for our future generations. We have the potential to develop a eco system that can change the course of architecture and take it up to a whole new level. We humans are at a turning point in our evolution. Though we began as a small population in a very large world, we have expanded in number and territory until we are now bursting the seams of that world. There are too many of us, and our habits are unsustainable. Having reached the limits of nature's tolerance, we are finally shopping for answers to the question: "How can we live on our home planet without destroying it?"

1. Habitat 2020, Concept drawings. Buildings behaving like living organisms. 2.Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe modeled after termite mounds. 3. Eden Project, Cornwall, United Kingdom. Idea of building form came from soap bubbles, structure of hexagons and polygons come from carbon molecule structure.

Just as we are beginning to recognize all there is to learn from the natural world, our models are becoming extinct-not just a few scattered organisms, but entire ecosystems. Biomimicry is more than just a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It's also a race to the rescue.

Ateeb Hussein—090106


Biomimicry—When Architects become copycats

Web References:    

-to-benefit-and-greatly-convenience-humanity/            Book references: Biomimetic architecture - Michael Pawlyn Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

Picture references:         

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Biomimicry - Architecture learnt from the nature  

Biomimicry - Architecture learnt from the nature