“Smart Highways” to Power Streetlights and Electric Cars
Roads are a ubiquitous, even defining aspect of our urban and suburban spaces. In the United States alone, parking lots and roads cover 16,000 square kilometers. So why must roads be gray,…
Structuring Biomimicry, Improving Building’s Resiliency
The same way Einstein assumes the speed of light to be a constant of reference for his Theory of Relativity, the philosophy of biomimicry assumes Nature as a constant of reference to a performance-based beauty for design.
Imitating nature has become a meaningful approach for contemporary architects and design futurists to the built environment, especially for those who foster a future that doesn’t compete with nature but coexist with it. At the light of recent natural disasters around the world, especially those geologically associated such as tsunamis and earthquakes, which have proven its destruction power over the current built environment; architects and structural engineers have found in biomimicry an ecological approach in order to improve future building’s disaster resilience.
Any Sufficiently Advanced Civilization is Indistinguishable from Nature
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” 
In Western cultures, nature is a cosmological, primal ordering force and a terrestrial condition that exists in the absence of human beings. Both meanings are freely implied in everyday conversation. We distinguish ourselves from the natural world by manipulating our environment through technology. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly proposes that technology behaves as a form of meta-nature, which has greater potential for cultural change than the evolutionary powers of the organic world alone.
With the advent of ‘living technologies’ , which possess some of the properties of living systems but are not ‘truly’ alive, a new understanding of our relationship to the natural and designed world is imminent. This change in perspective is encapsulated in Koert Van Mensvoort’s term ‘next nature’, which implies thinking ‘ecologically’, rather than ‘mechanically’. The implications of next nature are profound, and will shape our appreciation of humanity and influence the world around us.
Skyscrapers for Pandora
We’ve previously featured architecture that imitates nature by opening its walls like a flower, or drifting like a cloud. However, maybe this is not imitation enough. The next award-winning example by designer Stanislaw Mlynski shows a building made of the Re-cell ecological wall, which promises to turn a high-rise into an ecosystem. The cells use organic waste as an input, and produce filtered water, grow plants, and reduce C02. Now apartment-dwellers get to experience nature outside their windows. Decide for yourself: Does this project offer a promising future, or does it merely replace nature?
Growing a Crystal Chair
Japanese artist Tokujin Yoshioka does not sculpt his work, but grows it. His Venus chair was created by immersing a plastic mesh substrate into a tank filled with a chemical solution. Gradually crystals precipitate onto the substrate and give structure to the chair. It might not be the most comfortable place to take a seat, but it’s a great example of guided growth. Yoshioka has experimented with various other crystalline structures ranging from Greek sculptures to entire rooms. Maybe a scale replica of the Fortress of Solitude isn’t too far off.
More images after the jump.