3.8 million years of R&D
Architecture has often found inspiration in nature, but biomimicry – the practice of adapting specific solutions found in nature to human utility – has often lived at the fringes and its application has been largely aesthetic or inspired by practical site-specific considerations. Today, however, biomimicry is gaining ground and even governments are starting to look at the 3.8 billion years of natural evolution to help cities evolve and grow sustainably.
In New York, the State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has funded a 5-year program called the New York Biomimicry Innovators Group (NY BIG). NY BIG takes biomimetic solutions from the theoretical to the practical, matching researchers with businesses “to transform design processes, products, and the bottom line.”
Such solutions are both systemic and material, ranging from the nano to the macro scale. To name a few: the properties of shark skin becoming an anti fouling surface for use in subways and hospitals; using the golden section to improve the efficiency of moving fluids; and heat responsive building skins modeled from how a locust mediates temperature.
These are just some of well-adapted solutions that can be found in nature. Do you believe cities should become more biomimetic?
[Top Image: Jenny Sabin]