Biomimicry: Nature’s Blueprint for Sustainability and Innovation

Guest blog by Frances Owen and Devin Ornstein, current students of the MSc Environmental Technology at Imperial

Earlier this month, 6heads and other guests (including a group of lively Imperial Masters’ Students) were invited to Interface to view Michael Pawlyn’s latest exhibition on exploration architecture. Pawlyn’s work presents thought-leading architecture and design practice in the field of biomimicry. When faced with the world’s environmental issues, proponents of biomimicry look to our one true, time-tested source of adaptation and sustainability; the natural world.

Biomimicry uses the systems, relationships and models found in nature in order to inspire the development of design products to help solve human problems. It is a rapidly growing field that learns from the remarkable catalogue of processes found in biology. This approach seeks to reveal solutions that surpass sustainability, moving towards restoration and net positive impacts. Inspired by concepts and systems found in nature, Pawlyn’s stunning architecture radically rethinks buildings, their purpose, and their processes.

Biomimetic Office Building - Exploration Architecture

The exhibition was a remarkable reflection of Pawlyn’s approach to architecture. Designed by 3DEE, using SKO software, the central display table used growth patterns of trees and bones to showcase advances in material resource efficiency. Upon this striking table was a variety of Pawlyn’s designs, with sketches, models, and short videos presenting each project. Above it hung numerous natural organisms from which the designs were inspired. The exhibition featured projects like the Sahara Forest Project, which mimics the systems found on a desert beetle to produce zero-carbon food, renewable energy while reversing desertification in the world’s most water scarce area of the planet.

Biomimicry and the brilliant structures and designs that come from it, are increasingly relevant in a time when society needs to reconsider its relationship with the natural world and move towards a circular economy. We were certainly inspired by such forward thinking designs and were left wondering: what else can we learn from nature? On behalf of all of us from 6heads and Imperial College London, we would like to thank Interface for inviting us to learn about such innovation.

Other designs include:

Biomimetic Office Building – using biomimicry to rethink every aspect of office design, achieving remarkable breakthroughs including 30% savings in concrete, 50% savings in glass.

The BioRock Pavilion – a proposal for a small performance venue to be grown in seawater using electro-deposition of minerals onto a filigree steel frame.

Designs for an ultra-low energy IT server – a project inspired by ground-burrowing animals and the mathematical principles of branching leaf vessels.

Further Exploration:

For Display Videos and More:


One response to “Biomimicry: Nature’s Blueprint for Sustainability and Innovation

  1. Pingback: Happy New Year from 6Heads and some of our favourite 2015 moments with you | 6heads·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s