Biomimicry is a term that has been used time and again in the arena of Architecture. It means to look up to Nature for inspiration and innovation in solving today’s Design problems. While biomimicry attempts to draw sustainable solutions from nature’s make-up, bioarchitecture tries to tie together elements and spaces that are heavily roused by nature.
“To sit with the eagles and their flutelike songs, listening to the longer flute of wind sweep through the lush grasslands, is to begin to know the natural laws that exist apart from our own written ones.”
- LINDA HOGAN, author of Dwellings.
Listed below are some exemplary displays of bioarchitecture and bio-inspired masterpieces in the discipline of Art and Architecture.
1. The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
When one pictures the Sagrada Familia, it is almost impossible to do so without noticing the tower cranes in the background. Famously known as the Church still under construction since it was conceived (more than a century ago), it stands as one of the classic examples of Art Nouveau style of Architecture in the world. Antonio Gaudi, the whiz behind this masterpiece, sought for the City to be one day identified by the Church. And many of his efforts, the Church rightly serves that expectation.
The Sagrada Familia is an organic magnum opus, a breathing concrete organism that morphs right before our eyes. Something very similar to the constantly evolving nature of the earth. There is no structure that can match this excellence to date.
Being submerged in a jungle is a feeling of what one experiences when inside the Church. The canopy of ornamentation used in the vaults, the columns, and the exterior all adhere to verticality that Gaudi has tried to achieve in his architectural style. The ornamentation technique employed in the Church also tries to tie together the essence that nature is infused with spiritual importance as an example of bioarchitecture.
2. Beijing National Stadium, “The Bird’s Nest”
This excellent example of Biometrics in Architecture came into conception as the venue of the Olympics of 2008. The Beijing National Stadium or the Bird’s Nest as it is famously called was the brainchild of two Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron and the renowned artist Ai Weiwei.
After two rounds of the verdict, the Bird’s Nest emerged as the winning entry in the International Competition for the design of the main stadium for the Olympic Games.
The original Competition program directives included a stadium capacity for 100 000 people, a retractable roof, a multi-functional design to host a range of activities, leanings toward the green building trend, and adherence to advanced technology. Twisted steel envelopes the stadium with an inner bowl of concrete seating, and in between these sits the public concourse area.
3. Caterpillar and WoodPile
“A caterpillar with nine electric motors climbs a woodpile!” – Reuben Margolin.
Reuben Margolin is a Kinetic Sculptor whose pioneer work has been his work inspired by the Caterpillars. In this particular bioarchitecture, he uses scrap wooden blocks of varying sizes to represent the woodpile and the caterpillar appears to climb uphill on them.
Kinetic art depends on motion for its effect on the viewer. The art takes a lot of complex coding, mathematics, etc to produce a beautiful rendition of nature. Margolin tries to capture even the tiniest movements in nature and depicts it in his artform to fully enthrall the viewer into detailed “moments”.
4. Eden Project, Cornwall
The Eden Project located in the United Kingdom is one of the largest Greenhouses in the world built by Nicholas Grimshaw. The building takes the form of bubble-like domes that serve as greenhouses.
The architect was highly inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Montreal Biosphere in Canada. Hence the project follows the geometry of geodesic spherical networks. The site was a former Clay mine and the building’s entrance is at the top of this clay pit.
The skin of the biomes is transparent windows made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer (ETFE). This self-cleaning material is ideal as it can transmit UV Light and is also strong enough to take the weight of a car.
The main building consists of three parts. The Humid Tropic Biome forms the biggest one, Warm Temperature Biome and then the Linking Building which is almost invisible in the landscape.
5. Turning Torso Building, Malmo
Architect Santiago Calatrava has given to the world, awe-inspiring works that have been allegorical interpretations of the floral and faunal environment. Ascertaining the static and dynamic nature of the human body is also what Calatrava has achieved in most of his notable works.
In Malmo, South Sweden has located the Turning Torso building, a neo-futuristic building built-in 1999 designed by Calatrava. This mixed-use residential building was initially envisioned to be a part of the European Housing Expo of 2001 and also an example of bioarchitecture.
The form of the building is largely established by his sculpture of the Turning Torso, where the human movement is extracted elegantly onto a central scheme. The tower is as high as 190 meters, is entirely handicapped accessible, and has a reputation for being the second tallest residential building in Europe.