Architects, designers, engineers and innovators are increasingly going back to nature because when it comes to the answers that many professionals are seeking, Mother Nature got there first, writes Claire Janisch, founder of biomimicrySA, a diverse network of local professionals, students and educators who are passionate about nature-inspired innovation.
Organisms and ecosystems face the same challenges that we as humans do, but they meet those challenges sustainably. The premise of biomimicry is that Life has been performing design experiments in earth’s R&D lab for 3.8 billion years and what is flourishing on the planet today are the best ideas – those that perform well in context, while economising on energy and materials.
For example, termites know how to keep a large structure cool; leaves hold the secret to efficient solar panels, and the honeycomb solves many design challenges when it comes to constructing skyscrapers.
This goes way beyond simply being inspired by the beauty of nature. Being a biomimicry professional is rewarding and exciting for multiple reasons, not least of which is that we spend our working hours learning how nature functions and use that fascinating knowledge to find unique, innovative, sustainable solutions to the modern world’s pressing challenges.
With growing pressure for the built environment to be both eco-friendly and sustainable, there is increasing pressure for architects, designers and landscapers to provide green solutions.
Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature. It is the practice of learning from and then emulating nature’s genius to solve design challenges and create more sustainable designs.
Whatever the challenge, the odds are high that one or more of the world’s 30 million creatures, imaginative by necessity, have not only faced the same challenge, but have evolved to the point where they now have an effective strategy to deal with it.
After 3.8 billion years of R&D, organisms are the consummate physicists, chemists and engineers, and ecosystems are economies beyond compare.
They can provide us with innovative and progressive solutions to the design, engineering and other challenges that we now face: energy, food production, climate control, benign chemistry, transportation, packaging, and more.
The biomimicry vision is to create products, processes, organisations, and policies – new ways of living – that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.
”Doing it nature’s way” has the potential to change the way we grow food, make materials, harness energy, heal ourselves, store information, and conduct business.
For more information of nature-inspired technological, design, engineering and architectural solutions, go to www.biomimicrysa.co.za or www.biomimicry.net.