Biomimicry is an approach to design based on studying biological forms and processes. Fauna and flora has phenomenal abilities to adapt to changing temperature and humidity, achieve structural strength and grow from surrounding physical medium. Remarkable selection of solutions, found in nature, have been refined by 3.8 billion years of evolution and with latest technological possibilities can be applied in architecture, design and production at global scale. Fundamental principles of physical material properties were accepted as given conditions ages ago and ability to mimic behavior of natural environment led to evolution of man. It seems that for a while we were looking for more sophisticated ways of managing built environment but limited resources bring us back to undeniable principles. Few recent projects, run by practice Exploration Architecture, illustrate biomimicry applied at unexpectedly vast scale. Radical ideas were presented at The Architecture Foundation earlier this year.
Sahara Forest Project is environmental initiative to re-vegetate desert areas. Established in Qatar in 2012 complex of greenhouses occupies 1 hectare site. Few core principles include photovoltaic, cooling with seawater and biofuels, but most importantly, water for irrigation is collected from atmosphere by manipulating surfaces. Technology is inspired by the Namibian fog-basking beetle collecting water on its bumpy back surface from early morning fogs. Facilities achieve conventional productivity levels with just half amount of fresh water compared to Europe so further plan is to expand project site to 20 hectares.
Other mind shifting project – The Mountain Data Centre – based on biometric idea of making use of existing environment conditions. Naturally cool landscapes most suitable for huge energy resources requiring IT servers. Former marble mine in Norway mountains has 90 km of tunnels and steady temperature of 5oC – optimum condition to maintain cooling process so it makes more sense to locate data centers in there and use high speed data transmission.
BioRock Pavilion – ambitious project to grow architectural structure from atmospheric carbon. Based on corrective mechanism of balancing CO2 levels between atmosphere and marine ecosystem the proposal is to grow a building through accumulation of minerals on structure submerged in seawater. BioRock is technology developed by Wolf Hilbertz and Tom Goreau. It is widely used for reef restoration, but for the first time will be applied as construction material. What is more, overall design of theatre pavilion replicates sea shell structural properties.
Biomimicry principles goes beyond ‘sustainable’ as it does not only mitigate negative factors and is undependable on energy and material sources, but is restorative and deliver overall positive impacts. Being applied at vast scale it draws new landscapes.
More about the practice: http://www.exploration-architecture.com/projects