Let’s start with getting to know Biomimicry

For those of you who do not know biomimicry, it is a form of concept that draws inspiration from nature, interprets it, and produces new designs. It tries to offer a self-sufficient and livable environment like nature. Problems or difficulties in design can be solved with these interpretations. In addition, these solutions will be sustainable. So that means it will help protect us and our home for the future of the world and the climate crisis that is outside waiting at the front door. Also, without the need to waste time to produce new ideas or to be sustainable, the desired goal can be achieved simply by imitating and adapting the wisdom of nature. Taking examples from experience of things that have proven how they survive in different conditions in nature, shows that a direct solution can be found without risk.

Another advantage with biomimicry is that we will devote more time and value to understanding, observing, and learning about our world, which is our living space. We will reduce waste generation and conserve our resources. Inspiration can be specified, such as animals, plants, microbes, or functional or geometric patterns in nature. In this case, the form, behavior, or ecosystem of the organism and the environment can be imitated. These are the biomimicry levels. 

“The truth is, natural organisms have managed to do everything we want to do without guzzling fossil fuels, polluting the planet, or mortgaging the future.” – Janine Benyus

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Biomimicry has inspired designs that could bring new ideas and efficiency savings to the power industry_©Google Earth /Matt Farmer

Notions mixed with each other

Although biomimicry, bio-inspired design, biomorphism, bio-utilization are concepts that can be confused with each other, each is different from the other. Bio-inspired Design is a top title that also includes biomimicry. Biomorphism, on the other hand, focuses on shapes and patterns and reflects this to art, does not benefit from functional emulation such as biomimicry. Finally, bio-utilization refers to the use of biological material or living organisms in a design or technology. For example, using trees as a material (wood) for furniture or a living wall of plants to help clean the air in an office building is bio-utilization. Biomimicry and Biomimetic are different names for the same subject.

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What isn’t biomimicry?_©biomimicry.org

Architectural Practices

Huge growing human needs and the digital revolution push architects to seek different solutions. Architects, in this case, use biomimicry for their designs by looking or being influenced by nature. Collaboration with different disciplines, like engineering, materials, chemistry, biology and nature puts biomimicry in a preferable position. For instance, the entrance fringe of Lucerne Train Station (designed by Santiago Calatrava, inspired by the skeletal structures of animals), the snail-shaped residence- The Nautilus (designed by Javier Senosiain and Michael Wilford), Russell Johnson’s Esplanade Theater (which was inspired by the seed of the durian fruit), can be given as exemplary projects.

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Biomimicry: Inspiration from Nature_©DP Architects

Why should Architects practice Biomimicry?

Well, when we ask why architects should practice biomimicry or what does making these designs bring to architecture, it can be said that it actually allows for smarter designs. For example, thanks to termite nests, you can use climate-appropriate and natural ventilation in your buildings. You just need to examine the termite nests in more detail, where you will see that they have water channels in the floor to maintain the temperature inside and keep the humidity level constant. If you use this information in your buildings, you can prevent energy loss, and ultimately, you can reduce the use of air conditioners and create comfortable indoor environments.

By looking more carefully around you, just like Filippo Brunelleschi did for the dome of the Florence Cathedral, you can discover that eggshells are strong. So change the design of your dome and strengthen your building! By seeing the Namib Beetle collect water particles from the air with its wings, you can maintain the warmth of a greenhouse to be designed in desert areas. Or, by understanding the fact that the lotus flower does not hold dirt, you can achieve self-cleaning surfaces that can be used especially in the design of healthy buildings.

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The dome of Florence Cathedral, seen from the Bell Tower_©en.wikipedia.org

Conclusion and Opinion

Inspiring and interpreting Mother Nature is a very significant and suitable idea. Our biological knowledge is increasing day by day; we are getting more information about nature. Thus, together with technology, we use this information for functions that will facilitate human life, and we also protect our habitat and resources. 

The answer is yes; biomimicry is essential for architects. Nature, with its complexity, already leads the way for architects with its solutions and incorporates potential ideas that maybe we will need in the future or ideas we can admire. If the biomimicry method is used in newly designed buildings, environmental problems can be solved to some extent. Perhaps another application we will explore from nature in the future can enable us to fully heal the built environment and reclaim our resources. We exist if nature exists.

Sagrada Familia_©barcelonaguidebureau.com

References:

  1. Janine Benyus Quotes. BrainyQuote.com, BrainyMedia Inc, 2022. [online]. Available at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/janine_benyus_560633,[Accessed 20  February 2022].
  2. Bimimicry Institute.What is biomimicry. [online]. Available at: https://biomimicry.org/what-is-biomimicry/ [Accessed 20  February 2022].
Author

It is a great passion for Elif Demirci, a student of the department of architecture, to examine all the works, materials and projects going on in the field of architecture. She believes that her writings will improve the built environment.

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