9 incredible buildings
At the end of the 19th century, the innovative architect Antoni Gaudi found inspiration for Barcelona’s grand Sagrada Familia Cathedral while walking in the woods. A hundred years after Gaudi’s amazing projects, a new trend has emerged in architecture called biometrics — the imitation of nature in man-made structures.
Nature is the best source of inspiration for architects.
For several decades of its existence in architecture, biometrics has changed its content and general direction. At the very beginning, architects were guided by natural forms in the drawings of their projects, today they are interested not only in external beauty; the direction seeks to “understand” nature, its possibilities and the many ways in which nature uses the minimum amount of resources to the maximum.
Today, humanity is increasingly faced with the need to save resources, from electricity to territory, and biometrics offers to imitate not only natural forms, but also the processes and structures by which a building becomes an active part of the natural world, not taking away resources, but on the contrary, adding them. Understanding the need to be closer to nature, architects study termite mounds and anthills to understand the scheme of natural ventilation. Roofs, facades, and even walls of houses are used for growing plants, and sometimes living organisms. We invite you to get acquainted with the most striking projects of biometric architecture.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain.
Gaudi always considered nature the best architect, and each of his projects became a kind of ode to natural forces. The most majestic work of Antoni Gaudi is the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, which is scheduled to be completed in 2026, exactly one hundred years after the architect’s death.
The interior of the cathedral, and especially the colonnade, is inspired by the image of a quiet forest. The columns, like the trunks of giant trees, tend upward, where they are illuminated by the sunlight that enters the cathedral through the green and gold stained-glass windows.
Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
The most remarkable feature of the elegant Milwaukee Art Museum building is the sun-proof roof, which resembles the wings of a bird and is regulated by a lifting mechanism that can lower and raise the 90-ton protective structure.
The architect who designed the museum – Santiago Calatrava, drew inspiration from watching Lake Michigan, it is on its shore that the museum stands. The lake inspired the architect with the image of wings and sails, which is reflected in the design of the building.
Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria.
The Kunsthaus has a biomorphic structure and contrasts very much with the historical part of the city in which it is built. The main architects sought inspiration from nature, but did not try to imitate anything. The result of their labors was a building that locals and lovers of modern architecture dubbed “friendly alien”. The Kunsthaus is equipped with a media facade, which makes it look more like a living creature than a structure made of reinforced concrete panels.
National Theater, Taichung, Taiwan.
Architect Toyo Ito was inspired by natural caves, stone mounds, and water flow lines. All this he managed to combine into one design, which became like a natural island of smooth lines and rounded shapes in the bustling and “rectangular” city of Taichung.
Mary-Ex, 30, or Gherkin, London, United Kingdom.
The tower, shaped like a cucumber and located in the center of London, is one of the first buildings to rethink the concept of imitation of nature in architecture. In this project, it is not only the form and consumption of daylight and the areas for plantings that are eco-friendly. The gherkin is built using an “exoskeleton”, a structure that allows ventilation to run through the entire building. The architects were inspired by the nourishing process of the sea sponge, which passes water through itself. The absolute absence of corners at the building does not allow air flows to go down, thereby providing natural ventilation.
The Eden Project, Cornwall, UK.
A huge botanical garden with an area of 22 thousand square meters is located on the territory of an abandoned and cultivated quarry. On the territory of Eden, there are species of trees, grasses and shrubs of tropical latitudes and Mediterranean climates, as well as jungle flora. The garden consists of several domes that resemble soap bubbles in shape and appearance.
Inside the sphere, they are divided into biomes – territories united by common climatic conditions and vegetation. In the center of “Eden” there is an educational center that imitates the Fibonacci spiral-the shape that is repeated by pine cones, pineapples, sunflowers and snail shells.
Seaweed house, or Green House, Hamburg, Germany.
A unique house in Hamburg includes in its design living organisms-microalgae that live in aquariums located in the walls of the building. These algae grow ten times faster than any other organisms on the Earth’s surface, and they are regularly harvested and used as biomass for fuel production. The residents of such a house use one hundred percent eco-friendly energy. In addition to the energy function, algae regulate the lighting of the building. In sunny weather, they multiply quickly and cover the walls of the aquarium with a green translucent veil, performing the function of a natural filter. In bad weather, the glass remains transparent and allows maximum daylight.
Eastgate Office Center, Harare, Zimbabwe.
The chief architect of this office and shopping center managed to design the house using the very natural ventilation of termite mounds. The idea came to him while watching a documentary about termites. The exterior structure of the building, its facade is covered with holes, like skin pores.
Architects call “Eastgate” the best example of biomimicry to date, and not only in construction and design. The result of Mick Pearce’s idea was the concept of passive ventilation, a concept in which a building does not need a heating or air conditioning system, which saves on energy.
Downland Gridshell (DownlandGridshellBuilding), Chichester, United Kingdom.
This light and airy building is part of the open-air museum of the same name. Its construction was completed in 2002, the main material was thin oak planks, bent in such a way as to create a double bend, imitating the shape of a shell.
In addition to the natural shape, the structure of the building resembles the process of building a nest, by interweaving thin twigs. This creates a very light but strong structure. The use of renewable natural resources and the location of the building in the heart of the forest make it even closer to nature.