Biomimicry: Nature's Lessons

Feb. 18, 2009

Whether it’s the passively cooled Eastgate Center in Harare, Zimbabwe, which mimics the way termites maintain constant internal temperatures, the Singapore Art Center’s building skin louver system inspired by the way polar bear hairs regulate light and heat absorption, or the Waterloo, Canada, airport terminal with its plates of glass hinging together like the scales of the armadillo-resembling pangolin, architects are looking to nature for innovative design solutions.

Although biomimicry, the science of studying nature and applying its principles to solve design challenges, has already influenced a handful of products and building projects around the world, two significant new initiatives promise to speed the transition from theory to practice in the built environment.

“We’re surrounded by genius. What if every time you, or any other designer in the world, had a challenge you could ask, ‘How would nature solve it?’ ” challenges Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, Helena, MT, in a keynote address at Greenbuild 2008 in Boston.

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February 18, 2009
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