Biomimicry is expanding vastly and establishing itself in different fields. In architecture, it is used as an applied science that not only draws inspiration for aesthetic components but also makes use of the lessons from nature to improve the functionality as well as comfort in various spaces of a structure. Designers have observed and learned from nature’s experience of solving problems that come as a result of 3.85 billion years of evolution. They have utilized the knowledge to come up with great but sometimes slightly utopian concepts that drive the design of the structure.

Listed below are 8 such projects that have fascinating concepts of biomimicry, but could not see the light of day.

1. Four Seasons Tent Tower

Designed by OFIS architects for the Mercedes Benz hotel tower competition, the multifunctional building derives its symbolic shape from the biblical Mt. Ararat. The two towers are connected at the ground floor and have a vertical structural system that resists gravity loads and forces resulting from earthquakes due to high seismic activity in the region i.e., Yerevan (Armenia).

The design of the structure takes special care in optimizing environmental conditions and minimizing the energy demands. The facade covering the towers corresponds to different seasons. The mesh skin is fitted with a shading device to reduce solar gains in the summer and a concrete slab embedded pipe system provides heating in winter as well as cooling in the summer.

Four Seasons Tent Tower © Ofsis.si
Four Seasons Tent Tower © Ofsis.si
Four Seasons Tent Tower © Ofsis.si

2. Lilypad

The Lilypad designed by Vincent Callebaut is a concept proposal for a self-sufficient floating city that aims to deal with the effects of global warming and provide refuge to those displaced by future climate changes. The city can approximately hold 50,000 people and draws its inspiration from the ribbed leaf of the waterlily.

The city is intended to be a zero-emission city. With the use of several technologies i.e., solar, wind, tidal, and biomass, it will be able to produce its own energy as well as process the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through its titanium dioxide skin.

Lilypad © inhabitat.com
Lilypad © inhabitat.com
Lilypad © inhabitat.com

3. Habitat 2020

Habitat 2020 is a building designed for China as part of a sustainable housing initiative. The facade of the building is based on living skin that serves as a connection between the exterior as well as the interior for its inhabitants. The surface responds to the outside conditions and aligns itself to allow the channel entry of natural light, clean air, and the harvesting of rainwater. The organic waste generated in the habitat will be converted into biogas and used for diverse activities in the building.

Habitat 2020 © inhabitat.com
Habitat 2020 © inhabitat.com
Habitat 2020 © inhabitat.com

4. Mangal City

The Mangal city is a series of spiraling skyscrapers that were designed for the Hudson Yards in New York. It is based on the complex ecosystems of the mangrove tree, plant growth patterns, and the interaction between ecosystems. The structure is an urban ecological system that consists of modular pod capsules that adapt to the surrounding environmental conditions.

Mangal City © www.inhabitat.com
Mangal City © www.inhabitat.com
Mangal City © www.inhabitat.com

5. Dragon Fly

Designed by Vincent Callebaut, the Dragonfly is a vertical farm that draws inspiration from the wings of a dragonfly. The building comprises the housing, workplaces, and research labs along with plant and animal farming arranged throughout the glass and steel wing of the dragonfly. The spaces between the wings take advantage of solar energy and collect warm air during winter, while the natural ventilation and perspiration from plants aid cooling during the summers. The design also integrates renewable energies into its system to ensure that it can be an energetically self-sufficient project as well.

DragonFly © www.vincent.callebaut.org
DragonFly © www.vincent.callebaut.org
DragonFly © www.vincent.callebaut.org

6. RMJM Observation Tower

Designed as part of the riverfront improvement initiative for Doumen’s river in China, the 93-meter tall tower is inspired by the movement of water currents as well as that of a fish leaping out of water. The facade of the tower comprises a steel skeleton with aluminium sails that shades the structure from pollution and filters excess sunlight.

RMJM Observation Tower © www.rmjm.com
RMJM Observation Tower © www.rmjm.com
RMJM Observation Tower © www.rmjm.com

7. Elytra

The design Elytra, which is an insect wing inspired structure, was proposed for Moscow’s Tverskoy district. It was designed by Maryam Fazel and Belinda Ercan and won the first prize in the Moscow Circus School design competition. The design features a combination of public and private academic spaces.

Elytra © www.archdaily.com
Elytra © www.archdaily.com
Elytra © www.archdaily.com

8. Wooden Orchids

Inspired by the petals of the orchid flower, the wooden orchids was a proposal that won an honorable mention at UIA, Mount Lu Estate of World Architecture Competition. The multi-function building was designed by Vincent Callebaut and consists of shopping, commercial and cultural spaces. The prefabricated petals are repeated 16 times to create the form of the structure.

The project utilizes bioclimatic principles and renewable energy technology to create an eco-responsible and cultural experience for the users. The flow between spaces and the balance of solid and voids were developed from the order of the Fibonacci numbers that are observed in nature.

Wooden Orchids © vincent.callebaut.org
Wooden Orchids © vincent.callebaut.org
Wooden Orchids © vincent.callebaut.org
Arathi Biju
Author

With a notebook and pen in her bag and an arsenal of questions in her mind, Arathi Biju has always had a keen interest in telling a story. Currently pursuing her degree in architecture, she has always been a strong advocate of expression be it through art, architecture or words.

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