Corals are fundamental to marine life. Sometimes called tropical sea forests, they form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They serve as a refuge, breeding, and feeding area for dozens of species in the sea, and their absence can negatively affect local biodiversity to a tremendous degree. Yet just as humanity pollutes and destroys, it can also remedy and encourage the creation of more life. This is why shipwrecks of old vessels or the sinking of concrete structures for the creation of artificial reefs are frequently reported as providing immense potential. In Hong Kong, researchers have been developing 3D printed structures using organic materials that can lead to the creation of new opportunities under the sea.
Biomimicry: The Latest Architecture and News
Hashim Sarkis, the curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition organized by La Biennale di Venezia, launched a striking visionary theme at the beginning of this year: “How will we live together?”. This fundamental question finally transcends all disciplines and opens an existential portal for humanity. It does not refer only to humans but all species, the nonhuman organisms as well.
The Biomimicry Institute and Biomimicry South Africa have launched a new course covering the fundamentals of biomimicry. Called ‘Learn Biomimicry’, the online course kicks off in support of the Earth Day Network’s call for creative, innovative, and brave solutions needed to regenerate and repair the damage done to the planet.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel has collaborated with French practice OXO Architectes on a competition-winning design for a mountainous campus in the Sophia Antipolis technology park in Antibes, France. The “Ecotone Antibes” will serve as the main entrance to the technology park, which is home to over 2,000 companies.
Described as a 21st-century campus for France, the 40,000-square-meter mountainous structure is covered in lush vegetation, containing offices, a hotel, amenities, and co-working spaces. The campus, a rare exercise in biomimicry for the South of France, sought to capture the site’s rich landscaped surroundings, translating a natural ethos to the hard, technological campus.
In a design proposal for Soprema’s new company headquarters in Strasbourg, France, Vincent Callebaut Architectures envisions an 8,225 square-meter ecological utopia. The building, called Semaphore, is described in the program as a “green flex office for nomad co-workers” and is dedicated to urban agriculture and employee well-being.
An eco-futuristic building, Semaphore is inspired by biomimicry and intended as a poetic landmark, as well as aiming to serve as a showcase for Soprema’s entire range of insulation, waterproofing, and greening products. The design is an ecological prototype of the green city of the future, working to achieve a symbiosis between humans and nature.
The Architectural Association Visiting School Amazon is organising for the fourth consecutive year a workshop in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest open to design and architecture students and professionals in which an experimental floating structure will be designed and constructed in collaboration with Atelier Marko Brajovic and Ecofloat.
For the "Imagine Angers" international design competition, Vincent Callebaut Architectures worked in collaboration with Bouygues Immobilier group to submit a proposal for the French city at the intersection of social and technological innovation, with a focus on ecology and hospitality. Named Arboricole, meaning “tree” and “cultivation,” this live-work-play environment gives back as much to the environment as it does its users. Although WY-TO prevailed in the competition, the Callebaut scheme succeeded in winning the public vote.
Biomimicry with Steel Sheets: Designing "DNA" Into Materials Can Create Architecture that Shapes Itself
This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Haresh Lalvani on Biomimicry and Architecture That Designs Itself."
It’s the holy grail for any biomimicry design futurist: buildings and structures that use generative geometry to assemble and repair themselves, grow, and evolve all on their own. Buildings that grow like trees, assembling their matter through something like genomic instructions encoded in the material itself.
To get there, architecture alone won’t cut it. And as such, one designer, Haresh Lalvani, is among the most successful at researching this fundamental revision of architecture and fabrication. (Or is it “creation and evolution”?) He employs a wildly interdisciplinary range of tools to further this inquiry: biology; mathematics; computer science; and, most notably, art.
Aedas has released its design for Gmond International Building, a representative regeneration project located in the old town area of Shenzhen, China. The 200-meter super high-rise building is inspired by the traditional form of Chinese totem bamboo, which symbolizes prosperity and moral integrity.
With nearly 60,000 square meters of gross floor area, the building will house the headquarters for Tellus-Gmond, Grade 5A lettable office spaces, and a jewelry-trading center.
LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) has won the competition to redesign an energy park and energy storage building in Heidelberg, Germany, for the Stadtwerke Heidelberg. Currently a cylindrically shaped storage center, the space will be transformed into a dynamic sculpture, city icon, and knowledge hub for sustainable energy, fully accessible to the public with city views.
In order to display the concepts of energy transition, decentralization, networking, flexibility and adaptability, the project will feature a multi-layered façade structure inspired by geometries in nature like leaves, spider webs, and reptile skins. “The result is a dynamic, ever-changing surface of light and shadow, animated by wind, turning the building into a beacon of a dynamic new energy regime.”
The team of architects Maryam Fazel and Belinda Ercan, from Iran and Germany, respectively, have won first prize in the competition for the design of the Moscow Circus School launched by the Architectural Competition Concours d’Architecture (AC-CA).
The winning proposal, entitled Elytra, is an “eye-catching, cutting-edge, [and] unconventional” design that will tower over Moscow’s Tverskoy District, an area which features a burgeoning artistic scene.
Inspired by the forewings of insects—called elytra—the project opens upwards as a protective shell, and will feature both public and private space.
Architects of Invention's Coral Holiday Apartments Design Utilizes Biomimicry to Resemble Coral in Seychelles
Architects of Invention has unveiled their design for the Coral Holiday Apartments, an upscale lifestyle community in Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa. Located on the reclaimed portion of the main island of Seychelles, the project will feature professionally serviced apartments, a spa, several restaurants, a clubhouse, a pool, private marina and direct access to the beach.
Have you ever seen a building that breathes through thousands of pores? That may now be a possibility thanks to Tobias Becker’s Breathing Skins Project. Based on the concept of biomimicry, the technology is inspired by organic skins that adjust their permeability to control the necessary flow of light, matter and temperature between the inside and the outside. In addition to these performative benefits, the constantly changing appearance of these façades provides a rich interplay between the exterior natural environment and interior living spaces.
In a recent article published by the Financial Times, architect and public speaker Michael Pawlyn delves into how biomimicry can be applied to architecture in order to solve design problems and create a more sustainable future. Even in very early examples, biomimicry has been critical in the development of architecture, for example when Filippo Brunelleschi studied eggshells to create a thinner and lighter dome for his cathedral in Florence. In a modern example, biomimicry has been utilized—through the examination of termite mounds—to create cool environments without air conditioning in warm climates such as in Zimbabwe.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has unveiled its latest installation: the Elytra Filament Pavilion, a project displaying the culmination of four years of research on the integration of architecture, engineering, and biomimicry principles, in an exploration of how biological fiber systems can be transferred to architecture.
The 200-square-meter structure is inspired by lightweight construction principles found in nature, namely "the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra," states a press release.
LifeObject: Israel Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale to Study the Relationship Between Biology and Architecture
Israel has unveiled its theme for the 2016 Venice Biennale: “LifeObject: Merging Architecture and Biology”. Their pavilion will be comprised of a large-scale sculptural installation and seven speculative architectural scenarios relating to Israel. The exhibition will focus on the relationship between biology and architecture, acting as a “research oriented platform.”
From bricks grown from bacteria to cement derived from the reef building process of coral, biomimicry has taken the world by storm. A collection of products inspired by this phenomenon are showcased in Bloomberg’s article “14 Smart Inventions Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry,” ranging from transportation breakthroughs to ingenious feats of engineering. Read on after the break for two highlighted architectural inventions inspired by the natural world.