Architecture imitates nature’s functions, forms, and parts in order to solve the problems of sustainability, efficiency, strength, durability and more. Nature displays the solutions to these prob- lems through endless examples, which appear everywhere on this planet. Such designs represent nature’s work, which has evolved over a “3.8 billion year period.” Nature’s creations are carefully articulated in order to fit in with their context, and to optimize their need for energy and material. It is likely that the answers to most of our design questions lie amid the surrounding organic fabric.
Architecture that imitates nature’s functions highlights the pro- cess of extracting one or many functions from nature’s examples and applying them to architecture. These examples utilize these functions in order to respond to site, climate, energy consumption and other factors, without harming or polluting the surrounding environment. Functional biomimicry begins to dictate some de- sign decisions when it comes to form, orientation and material selection.
Architecture that imitates nature’s forms also highlights the process of extracting the structural properties that are embed- ded in natural forms. Natural structures have gone through billion years of evolution. They indicate an unimaginable level of perfec- tion through “trial and error”. Today’s living structures represent nature’s successes, while failures simply become extinct. These existing natural examples display a large pallet of “resourceful materials” and structural forms, which are endowed with the abil- ity to “respond to every kind of climatic and environmental force.” Such “superior designs” become crucial to our architectural devel- opment (Tsui 86).
Architecture that imitates nature’s parts highlights the process of extracting structural, formal or functional properties from na- ture’s examples and applying them to specific building compo- nents. This method can be used to replace building skins and mechanical systems, or it can simply be applied as an additional layer to the existing. The goal is to seek optimal building perfor- mance, which results in high efficiency and, of course, blending with the natural environment.
Status: School Project
Location: Worcester, MA, US