Bionic Architecture and Design

Crystal Palace, London-2.jpg Sagrada Familia-0.jpg Fish Dance Restaurant-1.jpg

The term “bionic”, first coined in the mid-twentieth century, is aimed at applying biological studies to technical aspects such as architecture, industrial design, and material science.

What is Bionics?

• An American major, Jack E. Steele, coined this term in 1958.
• ‘Bionics’ referred to transferring technologies into life-forms, also known as biomimetics, biognosis, bio-mimicry or bionical creativity engineering.
• Later, the term was also applied to bionic design, which is the harmonious relationship between the human and nature in industrial design, also a major way to improve human lives.

Elements of Bionic Design

1. Product Idea – relationship between design objective and product features.
2. Biological Idea – objective natural attributes of organisms; subjective cognition of design

Categorization of Bionic Design

a. Pattern: inspired by varied patterns in nature and applying it to architecture and design.
Examples: The remarkable architects in this category include: Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, inspired by the shape of plants; and Frank Gehry’s Fish Dance Restaurant in Kobe, Japan, the shape of fish creates a unique spatial characteristic.

b. Structure: Borrowing from organisms’ forming structure and applying it to similar patterns of architecture and industrial design.
Examples: The Crystal Palace finished, London (1851), imitates the vein tissue of water lily and human’s thighbone, and bears the maximum load by the minimum materials.

c. Function: The natural organisms have evolved for hundreds of thousands years, and have developed the complex, varied and high-adaptable abilities. Designers can transform these special functions found in different organisms, and apply to architecture & design.

d. Material: Intensive researches have reflected that some organisms’ characteristics may be transformed into artificial materials, for example aerogel (inspired from jellyfish).

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