Nature had always been our teacher. Long before we even knew that we were learning from it. Starting from the beginning when we started to settle along the riverbanks. The time when we used to plan and build according to nature rather than customizing nature according to us. Something we are practicing today; where the buildings are alien to their soil. Considering our current situation where drastic climatic changes are happening. There is a need for ‘Conscious Designing’. As the adversities are the consequences of our actions; the actions we took to choose our own needs surpassing nature. And in this situation, if we don’t choose sustainable and environmental ways we are making way to our doom.

“In every walk with nature; one receives far more than what one seeks.” – John Muir (1877)

So in such situations, towards what do we turn to?

Can biomimicry affect Human Psychology
The role of an architect will change. They will have to keep the effects of architecture on humans in mind ©www.medium.com

Towards, Biomimicry.

But what is biomimicry?

Biomimicry is the way of design where one learns from nature and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human problems.

But how can biomimicry be our future architecture?

To understand that point we have to dwell deeper into the basics of human psychology. In the past, during the evolution of the mammalian brain, the forebrain was developed more than the other parts of the brain. But the other parts that dealt with the pleasure and survival part were similar to that of the other mammals.Thus our reactions in those cases were quite similar to that of others. Thus, Design psychology mainly dealt with the cognition and experience part of the forebrain. While the other reactions are like the other mammals; there are two types of responses that are generated. The fight and flight response that happens during the chase or hunting is called a Sympathetic nervous response. After which the parasympathetic systems act; which is to calm and make the behavior steady.

In the old times, the fight or flight response used to be quick and would end in a matter of minutes. During a hunt or chase. As in some instances, we used to run in a shelter or secure cave; Our refuge. But in today’s date. Due to the increase of stress, the fight or flight response is long and constant which causes ‘chronic stress’. Which further results in psychological and physiological deterioration. Which if continues for a long time can affect a person’s mental health drastically. Hence to help generate the parasympathetic response we need to trace back to the time where we can find the patterns and aspects that used to be our refuge. As with thosepatterns and designs we can create an environment that can feel like a refuge to us.

For that, there is a need fora Restorative Environmental design which is based on the core concept of ‘Biophilia’. Biophilia; which is known as the innate affinity or attraction humans have towards nature. Thus, based on this concept, biophilic design is practiced. The main aspects that biomimicry and biophilic design share are.

That biomimicry is understanding and mimicking structure or mechanism. While the biophilic design is the study of natural methods and applying them to have a positive response. That is mainly both of them dealing with nature but different aspects of it. Through mutualism they work on some basic core concepts which are:

  • Place-based design – using local architecture and locally available materials.
  • Multidisciplinary design: Biomimicry is mainly dealt with by ecologists and biologists. While in biomimicry the main part is in psychoanalysis and fractal study.

Thus together mutually the principles of biomimicry and biophilic design are implemented by using strategies. Which arecategorized into the following attributes:

  1. Environmental features
  2. Natural shapes and forms
  3. Nature patterns and processes
  4. Evolved human and nature relationships
  5. Place-based relationships

1. Environmental Features:

Nature consists of various features that form the complex web of nature’s ecology as a whole. Those elements are the core and fundamentals of nature. Using them we can mimic and open up to nature.

ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES
Environmental features ©Renuka Deshpande

2. Natural Shapes And Forms:

Different shapes and forms are observed in nature on different organisms and plants. These shapes have a deep and old psychological impact on us as humans.

NATURAL SHAPES AND FORMS
Natural shapes and forms ©Renuka Deshpande

3. Nature Pattern And Process:

The process of nature is the longest and the most complicated ones. As they have various aspects that are connected to them. Thus their application and consideration during building design is an essential element of biomimicry.

NATURE PATTERN AND PROCESS
Nature pattern and process ©Renuka Deshpande

4. Evolved Human And Nature Relationships:

The human-nature relationship is ever-changing. And with the changing times, there is a change in how these relationships are perceived.

EVOLVED HUMAN AND NATURE RELATIONSHIPS
Evolved human and nature relationships ©Renuka Deshpande

5. Place Based Relationships:

Context-based designs that are specific to their site and the locally available materials are the sustainable options that are created to bring nature and human relation more symbiotic:

PLACE BASED RELATIONSHIPS
Place-based relationships ©Renuka Deshpande

Thus, after observing and analyzing the attributes of biomimicry it can be confirmed that biomimicry can impact and influence the users in both physiological and psychological ways. As the current state of our building environment and the way of creating new buildings have a lot of negative impacts on humans; including nature. This makes us turn towards sustainable architecture, as nature and human relations go hand in hand. Thus we need to practice a way of design that retains the balance between them. That isbiomimicry in simple terms. Biomimicry; nature architecture. Its importance has been rightly quoted by a roman poet 2000 years back which read:

“This is what I prayed for, A piece of land – not so very big, with a garden and, near the house, a spring that never fails, and a bit of wood to round it off.’’ – Roman poet Horace.

References Biophilic design handbook. The study of patterns. Biomimicry and biophilic designs. 14 patterns of biophilic design terrapin. Biophilia and healing environments by Nikos. Restorative environment and biophilic designs. An architectural love of the living:  bio-inspired design in the pursuit of ecological regeneration and psychological wellbeing – M. Pedersen Zari)

 

Author

Renuka is an artist, architect, and writer. With a keen interest in psychology; she is passionate about 'User-centric and need-based designs'. As an empath herself she finds writing as a way to empower and voice people. While aiming to make this world a better place as a designer.

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