How many of you have heard of Biomimicry? To define it in simple words, Biomimicry is the imitation of models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
Biomimicry in architecture means the practice of designing buildings and products that simulate or co-opt processes that occur in nature.
A major inspiration for the architects to look up to nature for construction lessons is the dire need to build with limited resources in the face of shrinking material and energy supplies. This shift in the architecture trends clearly shows that the industry is moving towards a more environment inspired understanding of how humans can respond to nature in the same way as the nature does.
Let’s read about some architectural wonders from around the world inspired by nature.
1. Sagrada Familia –
Image Source: barcelonaguidebureau.com
The stunning and unfinished Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona Spain was designed by Antoni Gaudi. The cathedral’s awesome interior is inspired by the idea of a forest that invites prayer.
The project started in 1883 and will be completed in 2026. Gaudi thought of this design, that would depict the relationship between humanity, nature, and religion. The building comprises of Tree-like columns that branch off near the roof for support and in-between it has green and golden glasses to reflect light.
2. Milwaukee Art Museum –
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The most eye-catching feature of the elegant Milwaukee Art Museum is the huge sunscreen roof. Architect Santiago Calatrava built this structure to incorporate the urban and natural features of Lake Michigan including culture of the lake front with the boats and sails.
Gariel Tang, an architect and senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, quoted that, “Though the construction is very expensive and technically complex, but it is a delightful way to observe the nature around us and get ideas to create pieces which are interestingly functional, functionally practical, and practically beautiful.”
3. Kunsthaus Graz –
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This innovative masterpiece was developed by 3 great people Dr. Marcus Cruz, Architect Peter Cook and Architect Colin Fournier.They took inspiration from natural forms but did not mimic them exactly.
This biomorphic Kunsthaus Graz or Graz Art Museum was built in 2003 as a part of the European Capital of Culture. It rises up and has angular red-roofed buildings in Austria like some colossal and stranded deep-sea blob.
4. National Taichung Theatre –
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Toyo Ito designed the exquisite National Taichung Theatre in collaboration with Cecil Balmond which became a new landmark of Taiwan. The Architects drew inspiration from the formation of rocks, caves and the transience of water.
Toyo devised an ideal construction technique taking in account its complexity. And used prefabricated steel cage and was filled with concrete to achieve curved walls. To promote energy efficiency, the building has surfaces integrated with air conditioning which during daylight hours adjusts its settings as per the number of persons in the theatre.
This aesthetic building promotes a symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world.
5. Eden Project –
Image Source: edenproject.com
The Eden Project is a dramatic global garden which houses an extraordinary collection of plant species from tropical rainforest and the Mediterranean. This has been recognized by the British Travel Awards as the Best UK Leisure Attraction past 5 years running.
The soap bubbles were the inspiration for the Architect Nicholas Grimshaw to build the huge transparent semi-spherical domes. The “Core” Education centre in the building mimics the Fibonacci spiral pattern which is found in many natural objects like pinecones, pineapples, sunflowers and snail shells.
6. Downland Gridshell Building –
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This building is a part of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in Singleton, Chichester, UK. This is Museum’s award-winning part and was the first timber gridshell building to be constructed in the UK.
It has used oak laths which are bent into shape to create the double-curvature, lightweight shell structure. The upper deck of the building provides a workshop where historic timber-framed buildings can be laid out for conservation and repair.
7. Beijing National Stadium –
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Nicknamed by locals as Bird’s Nest Stadium, this construction was designed by Swiss Architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, China.
110,000 tons of steel was used to construct the place and hence, the complete construction costed over US $420 Million. Though expensive, the infrastructure design also included energy-saving design and environment friendly features like natural ventilation and lighting, a recycling system for rainwater, use of renewable geothermal energy sources and utilization of photovoltaic power technologies.
8. Helix Bridge – Singapore –
Image Source: arup.com
The famous Helix Bridge provides a link across the head of the Singapore River between the city’s existing CBd and new Bay front district. The design consortium is an international team comprising Australian architects the Cox Architecture and engineers Arup, and the Singapore base Architects 61.
The inspiration comes from the double helix structure of a DNA Molecule- tubular. The stainless-steel struts connect two different spirals to the bridge’s deck.
9. Aldar Headquaters – ABU Dhabi –
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This circular skyscraper, voted as the Best Futuristic Design of 2008 is inspired by the sea shell. This unique and striking infrastructure of Abu Dhabi city’s skyline has been glittering against the seafront desert landscape since 2010.
This first circular building in the Middle East was developed by Marwan Zgheib and his Lebanon-based firm MZ Architects, as a tribute to the city’s maritime heritage. The building is constructed using grids of steel shaped in a diamond framework to create a curved glass skin for the building.
These buildings are true and fantastic examples of the growth of the architecture industry which has helped us mimic the amazingly beautiful yet complex structures of the nature.