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Rethinking The Future –
To which extent can Biomimetic Architecture create sustainable solutions ?

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Index | Biomimicry in Architecture

The Gherkin, London

The Sahara Forest Project

Eastgate Mall, zimbabwe

The Eden Project, Cornwall, England

Start with the video

Start with reading information

Start with the video

Start with the video

Start with the video

Start with reading information

Start with reading information

Start with reading information

Sea sponge

English architect Foster took inspiration from the Venus flower basket sponge, which led to a cylindrical /ai/ form with spiraling windows and light wells(1). This system allows for an open floor plan, vertical support without interior columns, resistance to winds, and ventilation throughout all floors. The design resulted in a 40% reduction in energy costs per year!


Note 1 well= puits

Adapted from https://archihacks.com/archistyle-of-the-month-biomimetic-architecture/ and https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a952-10-stunning-examples-of-biomimicry-in-architecture/

Venus flower basket sponge

The UK’s most iconic skyscraper ‘30 St Mary Axe’, more commonly known as ”The Gherkin” was one of the first environmentally progressive buildings in the city of London.
It was completed in 2004, the 180m tower has an air ventilation system similar to sea sponges and anemones.These creatures feed themselves by directing the flow of seawater through their bodies.
And similarly, The Gherkin is supported by an exoskeleton structure and is designed so ventilation flows through the entire building.


https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a539-what-is-biomimetic-architecture-and-why-young-architects-should-know-about-it/

Sea sponge

https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/951036-gherkin

The Gherkin

The building also regulates the amount of light that can penetrate through the windows, making the environment of the building very efficient to work in, not bringing too much light in. There is no need to install blinds(2) due to the building’s self-adjusting system of light exposure.
The building is sustainable in such a way that it only uses half the energy that a similar size building would use.

Source: Abridged and adapted from https://arc239parametricism.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-gherkin-30-st-mary-axe/
Notes:
1 double-glaze= install 2 layers of glass in windows.
2 blind= un store

Its mosaic-like glass exterior and sustainable energy-saving methods were voted the most admired building in the world.
The Gherkin is shaped like a bullet and the design spirals in one direction.

The building is constructed of a system called the double-skin façade.
The double-skin façade creates a double glazing(1) effect which insulates the office space through passive heating and cooling.

This design for natural ventilation and insulation helps the building consume as low as half the power that a similar sized tower would use. Due to this system, each level in the building is well ventilated.

Along with air circulation, it also regulates temperature control. The system of the building behaves accordingly to the climate and the weather, it filters out warm or cool air from the building to keep the temperature consistent and manageable.

The Gherkin

Watch the
“Video Discovery”
to better understand the project (write down new information) and to hear the pronunciation of the key words:

VIDEO

Eastgate Center, Zimbabwe

Designed by Mick Pearce* in collaboration with Arup engineers, the center is a shopping mall and office building that makes use of natural cooling with sophistication.
Inspired by the natural cooling system of termites, the air enters the building at the lower floors and escapes through the chimneys.
The natural system helps reduce energy consumption by 10% when compared to a standard building.

https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a952-10-stunning-examples-of-biomimicry-in-architecture/

Eastgate Center, Zimbabwe

*Pearce was born on June 2 1938, in Harare, Zimbabwe. He received his diploma with distinction at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1962. He has undertaken projects in the UK, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Australia and China as well as South Africa.[1] In the last 20 years Pearce has focused on sustainable architecture and has explored the principles of biomimicry


The Eastgate Centre, an office and shopping complex in Harare, is a case in point.
“Eastgate is based on a primitive and simplistic idea,” he says. For the design of this building he studied the way in which termites build and regulate the temperature in their mounds. He employed a similar system of circulating air through a series of vents and chimneys in order to heat or cool the building instead of installing conventional air conditioning.

Adapted from https://archihacks.com/archistyle-of-the-month-biomimetic-architecture/ and https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a952-10-stunning-examples-of-biomimicry-in-architecture/

Minuscule termites build giant mounds to grow and house fungus (their main food). The amazement kicks in with the complex ventilation system of this structure…The Fungus must be kept at 87 F while the outside temperature ranges between 35 F (night) – 104 F (day). Termites achieve this by constantly opening and closing thousands of heating and cooling vents at the surface of the mound. Air is sucked in the lower part of the mound, moving down into the mud enclosures and up through the channels at the peak. The termites continuously dig new vents and plug up the old ones to fine-tune the system.

Eastgate Center in Zimbabwe mimics a similar concept. The concrete building mass warms or cools the winds entering the building depending on which is hotter, the concrete or the air.
As in the termite mounds, the air enters the building into the lower floors and offices before escaping through the chimneys at the top. This system reduces the building’s energy consumption
to less than 10% of a conventional building.

Adapted from https://archihacks.com/archistyle-of-the-month-biomimetic-architecture/ and https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a952-10-stunning-examples-of-biomimicry-in-architecture/

Termite Mound’s Ventilation Structure

Click here for Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion

The Eastgate Center

Watch the
Video
to better understand the project (write down new information) and to hear the pronunciation of the key words:

VIDEO

The Eden Project, Cornwall, England

The Radiolaria, also called Radiozoa, are protozoa of diameter 0.1–0.2 mm

pollen grains

carbon molecule

soap bubbles

dragonfly wings

Eden Project is the world’s largest greenhouse. The huge semi-circular modules were inspired by the shape of soap bubbles. The efficient structural system consisting of hexagons and pentagons was derived after studying pollen grains, radiolaria, and carbon molecules. The biomes /baɪəʊms/ were made of ETFE (Ethyl tetrafluoroethylene) and steel (1). They are self-cleaning and act as a thermal blanket that traps air between them, resulting in reduced energy consumption.

(1) steel= acier

Adapted from https://archihacks.com/archistyle-of-the-month-biomimetic-architecture/ and https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a952-10-stunning-examples-of-biomimicry-in-architecture/

The Eden Project, Cornwall, England

The Radiolaria, also called Radiozoa, are protozoa of diameter 0.1–0.2 mm


The hexagonal shape of the biome’s cells was based on soap bubbles and were used for their ability to adapt to the uneven shape of the clay pit(1 )that they were built in.
Each cell is made up of three layers of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer (ETFE) that is inflated to create a pillow (2). ETFE is lighter than glass but also strong enough to withstand the weight of a car.
It also lets in UV light for the plants inside.




1 clay pit= carrière d’argile
2 pillow= cousin

https://www.thevalleycornwall.co.uk/news/6-facts-eden-project/

The larger of the two biomes simulates a rainforest environment and is the largest indoor rainforest in the world and the second, a Mediterranean environment. The attraction also has an outside botanical garden which is home to many plants and wildlife native to Cornwall and the UK in general. (Wikipedia)

(1)“the site was being quarried”= some stones were being extracted from the site

Interview of Michael Pawlyn,British architect member of the Grimshaw Architects' team to work on the Eden Project, conceived by Tim Smit
(Michael Pawlyn was born on 30 September 1967, he is a British architect who joined the architects’ team in 1997.

He led the design of warm temperate and humid tropics biomes, helping to radically reinvent the principles of horticultural architecture and creating a ground-breaking, world-class visitor attraction in the process.

►What role did biomimicry play in the Eden Project?
MP: “It was used at pretty much every stage of the design process. One of the challenges was that the site was still being quarried(1) and we didn’t have predictable final ground levels. So we conceived of the building as being composed of bubbles; we studied their geometry and developed a bubble model that fitted into that 3D terrain. The next stage was thinking about how those spherical surfaces could be structured most efficiently. For that, we looked at examples in biology such as pollen grains, radiolaria and carbon molecules, which demonstrated that the most efficient way of structuring a spherical surface was with pentagons or hexagons.



When designing the dome intersections posed a challenge, we resolved it by looking at the structure of dragonfly wings

https://www.attractionsmanagement.com/index.cfm?pagetype=features&codeID=29664

The Eden Project

Watch the
Video
FROM 3’29 TO 6’32
to better understand the project (write down new information) and to hear the pronunciation of the key words:

VIDEO

Desert Beetle

The Sahara Forest Project

The Sahara Forest Project is a project that combines solar power technology and desert revegetation techniques with seawater-cooled greenhouses which are also inspired by the Namibian fog-basking beetle.
A sustainable future
Exploration, a company founded by the British architect Michael Pawlyn in 2007, is one of the most advanced research groups in these terms. The team makes architecture inspired by natural processes, using to its advantage the most recent technological innovations to create a more sustainable world. Its most ambitious project is the Sahara Forest Project, which sets out to create new architectural spaces in harmony with a seemingly hostile natural environment. Pawlyn and his team prove that it is in fact possible to inhabit areas as bitter as Central Africa’s great deserts, by using nature’s own genius.

https://www.biomimeticsciences.org/es/en/2019/12/19/el-sahara-forest-project-un-ecosistema-arido/

The Sahara Forest Project takes its biomimic inspiration
from the Namibian Fog Basking beetle
It combines two proven technologies in a new way to create
multiple benefits: producing large amounts of renewable energy, food and water as well as reversing desertification.
The first technology, and a major element of the proposal, is the Seawater Greenhouse - which is a brilliant invention by Charlie Paton that creates a cool growing environment in hot parts of the world and is a net producer of distilled water from seawater.

The second technology, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) involves concentrating the sun's heat to create steam (1) that drives conventional turbines, producing zero carbon electricity twice as efficiently as photovoltaics.

By combining these 2 technologies there is huge potential to restore forests and to create a sustainable source of fresh water, food and energy in resource-constrained areas of the world. It is a true Example of restorative design. This can extend into all design challenges, ones that create resources rather than deplete them.



UK Guardian, Science Magazine http://annamariaorru.com/filter/biomimicry/Sahara-Forest-Project

(1) steam= water vapour

Saltwater runs down these cardboard pads as hot desert air is pulled through, generating cooler, humid air. These hedges are used both in the greenhouses and in the adjacent plots of land, allowing vegetation to grow outside that otherwise would not survive.

Certain species of darkling beetles that live in the Namib Desert are able to harvest(1) water vapor using an ingenious series of tips and bumps on their wing scales. The water droplets start to form on the tips and then flow off the waxy bumps to be collected by the beetle. This structure allows the beetle to survive in an incredibly arid environment.

Desert Beetle Harvests Water

(1)harvest= collect and store for the future

https://thewonderofscience.com/phenomenon/2018/7/11/desert-beetle-harvests-water

https://www.businessinsider.com/sahara-forest-project-growing-food-in-qatar-2014

The Sahara Forest Project

Watch the
Video
FROM 1’49 to 4’52
to better understand the project (write down new information) and to hear the pronunciation of the key words:

VIDEO