Primer

Biomimicry: Designing Conditions Conducive to Life

Biomimicry offers a vitalizing framework for reconnecting designers to nature and driving innovation.

The term biomimcry literally means the imitation (mīmēsis) of life (bios). At its most basic, the practice of biomimicry is about looking to the natural world and following its lead. By looking to nature and emulating it as the ultimate model of “sustainable design,” architects are drawing from a rich, diverse sourcebook of ideas and solutions that have been fine-tuned over millions of years.

This idea of looking to nature to guide innovation and invention is not new. It’s at least as old as the sixteenth century when Leonardo da Vinci was studying the flight behavior of birds in his attempt to solve the problem of human flight. His recorded observations eventually contributed to the Wright brothers’ understanding of some of the fundamental concepts of flight. More recently, in the nineteenth century, Antoni Gaudí studied the shape of trees to inform the design of the Sagrada Familia cathedral’s branching structural elements. This makes the Sagrada Famila, like the Wright Flyer, an example of “biomimetic design.”

Published July 25, 2017 Permalink