The investigation and execution of building principles found in natural settings and species is known as “biomimetic architecture,” and it translates into creating environmentally friendly architectural solutions. Using natural creatures as models, benchmarks, and mentors, biomimetic architecture develops architectural solutions at various scales. While “mentor” refers to learning from natural principles and drawing inspiration from biology, “using nature as a measure” refers to employing an ecological benchmark to gauge sustainability and the effectiveness of constructed technologies. 

The goal of biomimicry is to value nature for its lessons rather than for what it may be used to obtain, congregate, or cultivate. A sympathetic, interrelated knowledge of life’s mechanics and, ultimately, our place in it is provided by biomimicry. It is an approach that draws inspiration from and imitates the tactics employed by extant animals.

Types of Biomimicry

  1. Organism Level: Architects consider the organism itself and incorporate its forms and/or functions.
  2. Behaviour Level: To create a structure that blends in seamlessly with its surroundings, the building takes cues from how the organism engages with its surroundings.
  3. Ecosystem Level – Rather than building a single structure, an ecosystem-level building typically consists of an urban-scale project with numerous elements that mimic how the ecosystems of these components interact.

Biomimicry at the Organism Level

Soap Bubbles

This idea takes on the form of a bubble of soap. A bubble is a geodesic system made up of pentagons and hexagons. Additionally, light may flow through a bubble. A collection of man-made biomes called the Eden Project (2001) in Cornwall, England, have domes that are fashioned after soap bubbles and pollen grains. It is made up of several different-sized bubble-shaped domes called biomes. Throughout the planning phase, the site was still being quarried, therefore these domes were made to adjust to the final ground levels. Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a transparent polymer that is tougher and lighter than glass, is used to manufacture the domes. By letting in more light, this material lowers the amount of energy needed for heating. Another outcome of using ETFE was that the structure weighs less than the air inside of it.

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Eden Project Biomes Playground_©The Eden Project
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The interiors of the Eden-project_©Grimshaw

Bird’s Nest

By imitating how birds line their nests with twigs and other gathered items to act as insulation, the Beijing National Stadium was ideated. Its façade is covered in elaborate steel cladding that resembles bird’s nests, displaying biomimicry in architecture. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, the design incorporates ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) panels that are placed between the steel gaps to provide soundproofing and weather protection. 

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Beijing National Stadium_©

Bird’s Wings

A building that has merged the lines between engineering and architecture is the Milwaukee Art Museum. The building’s location overlooking the lake served as inspiration for several biomimicry components, including the movable steel blinds that resemble bird wings, the wired pedestrian bridge with its elevated mast that resembles a sailboat, and the single-story, curving gallery that looks like a wave. It also imitates how wings behave. Warm air enters the structure during the day, and as the heat is captured by the building’s surface, the air cools. The cool air of the night becomes warm due to this heat amassed by the surface. 

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Milwaukee Art Museum_©

Biomimicry at the Behavior Level 

Venus Flower Basket Sponge

The Venus’ flower basket sponge’s spherical shape and lattice-like exoskeleton, which offer it rigidity and distribute the stresses from powerful currents, allow it to live at extremely low depths. Its body’s structural stability is derived from a network of silica spicules that may withstand stress by bending where they cross. The sponge’s hollow “basket,” through which seawater is filtered for nutrients, is formed by its silica skeleton. Flagella guides the water’s passage through the framework and outward. 

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Venus Flower basket glass sponges_©NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition

The Gherkin performs what a sponge accomplishes in water by imitating its shape and lattice structure. The building’s spherical form minimises wind deviations and generates the exterior variations in pressure needed to power the HVAC system. Compared to a standard office tower, which has a rectilinear form, the structure allows for more efficient air movement throughout. An open floor plan without inner columns is made possible by a framework surrounding the outside that resembles a framework and is diagonally braced. Additionally, there is a lot of natural light transmission due to the porosity. 

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The Gherkin Skyscraper located in London_©Nigel Youngs
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Construction of the Gherkin Building_©

Termite Mounds Inspired Building Design for Efficient Cooling and Ventilation

In Zimbabwe, termites construct enormous mounds where they cultivate a fungus, which serves as their main food source. The diurnal temperature variation ranges from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fungus needs to be maintained at precisely 87 degrees Fahrenheit. By continuously opening and shutting several heating and cooling valves across the mound during the day, the termites accomplish this amazing accomplishment. Air is drawn in at the base of the termite mound, downward into compartments with mud walls, and up via an opening to the top of the mound using a system of precisely calibrated convection currents. The hardworking termites regularly excavate new vents and seal off existing ones to regulate temperature.

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Termite Mound Cross Section_©inhabitat
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Termite Mound_©inhabitat

The airflow system of the Eastgate Centre, which is primarily constructed of concrete, functions similarly. According to what is hotter—the air or the building concrete—the building mass will either warm or cool the drawn-in outside air. After that, it is vented into the offices of the building before leaving through vents at the top of the building. The complex also comprises two side-by-side buildings that are exposed to the surrounding winds and divided by a glass-covered open area. Fans on the first floor continually extract air from this open area. Then, it is forced up vertical distribution sections of ducts that run through the middle of the two buildings. Stale air rises and escapes through ventilation holes on each floor’s ceiling, and is replaced by fresh air. In the end, it passes via the vertical ducts’ exhaust portion before being expelled from the structure by chimneys.

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The Ventilation System at Eastgate Centre_©inhabitat
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Interiors of the eastgate Centre_©inhabitat

Biomimicry at the Ecosystem Level 

A deciduous forest

Saturation of soil due to moisture during rains causes the development of trees and bushes. At the same time, some plants experience water stress during the dry season. Several plants lose their leaves to preserve water. Certain species, on the other hand, have evolved specialised root systems that allow them to store water in their tissues or draw from groundwater reserves to adjust to the seasonal fluctuations in rainfall.

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Moist deciduous forest_©

Before it became an arid region, the intended location for Lavasa, India was a wet deciduous forest. As a result, annual monsoon floods occurred in this area. They planned the building foundations to hold water, much like the old trees did, to adapt to the season’s flooding. City rooftops have a drip-tip system that lets water flow down while also cleaning the surface, emulating the natural banyan fig leaf. Local harvester ants, who utilise multipath channels to redirect water away from their nests, are mimicked to transport surplus water through channels.

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The city of Lavasa_©Pune Mirror

Fungi-Inspired Green Building Material

Among the most distinctive and significant components of the fragile ecology on Earth are fungi. As they recirculate their waste back into the cycle to allow new life to thrive and flourish, they are nature’s grim harvesters. Large volumes of both organic and inorganic garbage are produced by humans. Mycelium, the vegetative portion of the fungus, is what the researchers at Biohm used to produce a heat-insulating panel that works even better than conventional insulation materials. Moreover, it decomposes entirely naturally. To recycle plastic and other waste products created by humans into green construction materials, they are also trying to develop a new mycelium.

Architects and product designers have historically derived their architectural shapes and aesthetics mostly from nature. In design, biomimicry is an applied science that draws inspiration from nature to address issues practically, in addition to taking aesthetic cues from the natural world. It is mostly the responsibility of architects and designers to introduce biomimicry systems into the mainstream. Since the building process has a significant impact on the environment, it is our responsibility as architects to identify the best solutions in nature to preserve the environment.


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The best 50 biomimicry examples and inventions of all time (no date) The Best 50 Biomimicry Examples and Inventions of All Time. Available at: (Accessed: 15 June 2024). 

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Yadav, S. (2023) Monsoon Deciduous Forest biome, Geographic Book. Available at:,them%20during%20the%20wet%20season. (Accessed: 15 June 2024).


Shreya is an architect and urban designer. She is a heritage enthusiast, ready to explore historical sites. She believes that research forms the foundation of all things and has a few research papers published to her name. She aims to create a world that is equitable for all through her designs.