With the rapid upliftment of technology, almost every economic and cultural activity is affected, from human life to the built environment. Also, there is a constant need to keep up with urbanization and an increasing population. At this time, humans are constantly in search of peace and an environment appropriate for their healthy physical and mental growth. But where can we achieve a peaceful environment amidst the concrete jungle we have created? How can we have such a healthy environment appropriate for a healthy lifestyle? Here comes the term “BIOMIMICRY” more commonly known as Bio-inspired designs. This term refers to the construction of nature-inspired structures to make them livable.

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If we look around, we can understand the importance and role of biological systems in our lives. These systems can be easily incorporated into innovations and new technologies. Biomimicry involves strategically duplicating or mimicking a biological process in a built structure to make it sustainable and greener. These systems, when incorporated into a building, also contribute to the economic upliftment of the building.

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Elements of Biomimicry

While talking about biomimicry, we generally ignore the basic elements that need to be incorporated into its whole process. There are three chief elements of biomimicry, briefly discussed below:

  1. EMULATE: Emulation defines the process where humans get inspiration from nature and then apply it to a particular process to make it more sustainable, minimizing its negative impact on the Earth. Biomimicry does not only include taking inspiration from nature but also defining its natural characteristics in the built form. This will define emulation in reality.
  2. RECONNECT: Reconnect signifies a system of connecting nature to humans where each entity respects another. Through reconnecting, humans can get a chance to learn from nature and its processes. This process surely leads to an effective and efficient design.
  3. ETHOS: Ethos represents ethics and encompasses the philosophy of practicing Biomimicry. It briefly explains how humans need to preserve nature, as our survival in one way or another depends on it. Thus, following certain rules or having an ethical approach leads to a successful design.
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Principles of Biomimicry

Apart from the elements involved in Biomimicry, there are several principles too involved in Biodesign. These principles form the foundation pillars for a design and connect it to the theme portrayed. These principles also revolve around the basic idea of reconnecting human lives with nature. The principles involved are:

  1. EVOLVE TO SURVIVE: Evolution is a never-ending process that is similar to nature in that it also keeps on evolving into a new and unexpected form from time to time. Thus, evolution is crucial to survival for either humans or nature. 
  2. ADAPT TO CHANGES: Change is constant, one has to accept and adapt to these changes and adapt them accordingly to keep up with the pace of the natural process. Adapting to changes also promotes diversity and imparts integrity. 
  3. USE READILY AVAILABLE MATERIALS: Promoting the use of locally available resources surely helps in maintaining a balanced natural environment and uplifting sustainability. 
  4. BE LOCALLY RESPONSIVE: Biomimicry strives to promote and encourage a cyclic process in construction as well as design. This process ultimately promotes the use of locally available materials, which prove quite economical for the local people. 
  5. DEVELOPMENT WITH GROWTH: Development must always go in hand with progressive growth. All the elements included in the design should be considered collectively as leading to a particular result. 
  6. RESOURCE EFFICIENT: Biomimicry also encourages different methods that require low energy and are recyclable. These processes, along with being sustainable, perform quite efficiently as compared to traditional methods. 
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Intermixing these elements and principles makes biodesign quite efficient and effective, shaping a better future ahead. Biomimicry can be used not only in built structures but also with medical, technology, education and many more aspects of human life. Some of the examples of such innovations are:

  1. PEACOCK INSPIRED BIOSENSORS: Peacock sensors like the name suggests, were developed taking inspiration from peacocks, beetles, and butterflies. These sensors change color as a response to various changing factors like light, Temperature, Chemical reactions, and many more. These sensors react like the natural reaction of peacocks to changes in their atmospheric conditions. This natural biological process has been an inspiration for various innovations, from healthcare to technology. In healthcare, these sensors are used to detect several viruses in the human body and help us provide aid for them.
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  1. NATIONAL AQUATIC CENTER: National Aquatic Center is situated Beijing in China. This structure is popularly known as the Water Cube and was constructed for hosting the Olympic games. The water cube symbolizes the concept of intermingling nature with culture. To further prove this concept practically and to encourage biomimicry, the building structure is inspired by water bubbles resembling the activity it promotes. The exterior structure with bubble shapes is covered with transparent, eco-friendly ETFE membrane which gives an appealing look to the structure. The main aim of the structure very well harmonizes with the adjacent Olympic stadium demonstrating the yin-yang theory. 
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National Aquatic center_@https://files.structurae.net/files/photos/wikipedia/Beijing_National_Aquatics_Centre_1.jpg
  1. EDEN PROJECT: Eden Project is a bio park located in Cornwell, UK consisting of a biodiversity park with various educational, cultural, and recreational spaces. This project is one of the best examples portraying biomimicry as it has three dome structures shaped as shel similar to the ones we see in turtles and snails. These bio domes include artificially created climates, each portraying different climatic zones. Apart from these biome structures, there is a landscaped region that has a minimal effect on the natural character of the site. There are various recreational and cultural spaces also designed in these landscaped areas to keep the visitors engaged with their natural environment. 
Eden Project_@https://www.edenproject.com/sites/default/files/2021-06/eden-project-tamsyn-lewis.jpg

Thus, innovations and designs like these promote biomimicry and the design collaborating with nature and the biological processes around it. We can imagine our future bio-inspired and eco-friendly away from the concrete jungle we are currently living in. 

  1. Bio – Inspired design: the impact of collaboration between engineers and biologists on analogical transfer and ideation (30 March, 2020) Springer Link, Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00163-020-00333-w (Accessed: 20 August, 2023)
  2. Biomimicry (2001) Biomimicry Institute, Available at: https://biomimicry.org/what-is-biomimicry/ (Accessed: 20 August, 2023) 
  3. Biomimicry: Emulating Nature’s Genius (19 september, 2012) Our World, Available at: https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/biomimicry-emulating-natures-genius (Accessed: 20 August, 2023) 
  4. The Biomimicry Life’s Principles Explained (6 December, 2022) Learn Biomimcry, Available at: https://www.learnbiomimicry.com/blog/biomimicry-lifes-principles (Accessed: 20 August, 2023) 
  5. Explain the principles of Biomimicry and their application in engineering design (21 July, 2023) My Exam Solution, Available at: https://www.myexamsolution.com/2023/06/explain-the-principles-of-biomimicry-and-their-application-in-engineering-design.html (Accessed: 20 August, 2023) 
  6. 9 Bioinspired Medical Technologies (7 January, 2021) Asme, Available at: https://www.asme.org/topics-resources/content/9-bioinspired-medical-technologies (Accessed: 21 August, 2023) 
  7. Biometric Design: 10 Examples of nature inspiring technology (Gertie Goddard) Science Focus, Available at: https://www.sciencefocus.com/future-technology/biomimetic-design-10-examples-of-nature-inspiring-technology (Accessed: 21 August, 2023) 
  8. National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) Arup, Available at: https://www.arup.com/projects/chinese-national-aquatics-center (Accessed: 21 August, 2023) 
  9. Welcome to watercube, the experiment that think it’s a swimming pool (6 May, 2019) The Guardian, Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/may/06/research.science1 (Accessed: 21 August, 2023) 

Sameeksha, currently pursuing her architecture degree, is also inclined towards writing and pouring out her thoughts. Being an writing enthusiast as well as an architecture student, she constantly tries to grab every opportunity for writing and express her views for the built environment.