How do architects begin with a design whilst staring at a blank piece of paper? Do they look around the natural surroundings of the place and analyse what would work best or do they abide by the nominal architecture that is prevalent all over the place? Is nature any sort of inspiration for those designs? To answer such questions, let's first see what did they used to do in the olden times as we speak; During the ancient civilisations and a little later during the ancient roman and greek empires, the buildings used to be inspired by nature and in fact, natural environment had a huge role to play in the architecture of some of the famous buildings we know. The Greek library was just an open floor plan intermixed within nature that was hollow from the centre that could be used for the famous Grecian dialectics and political discussions, historic forts had to take a specific geographical feature like sea, hills, forest cover and the like in order to protect their kingdoms and crown from possible invasions.
Such architecture has inspired the current generation to play according to the rules of nature and get inspired by the diversity of it and how to utilise the best of it in architecture. Architecture truly is an art form that has been inspired by nature.
Nature has some of the best techniques for how it survives in harsh conditions and still thrives. the incorporation of such wonders into architectural study ranges from Biomimetic architecture to biophilic building designs that have not only been incorporated to withstand the test of time but also fashion architecture in a sustainable way.
Below are some of the ways architecture has been inspired by and from nature:
Eastgate centre inspired by termites
The mimicking and innovating from the living organisms and nature is called biomimetic or biomimicry architecture. When Mestral, a Swiss engineer saw certain seeds stick to his sweater, he observed that they had these little claws that could stick to anything that has a loop on it and seven years later he invented Velcro. Such keen observation into the interesting mechanics of nature has been adopted in the ingenious architecture of the world like the algae produced bioelectricity building in Germany that uses living algae as its source for electricity that helps sustain the entire building all year round!
Changi airport, America
Ever seen a building that is basically fully open and extends to a wider area of land without altering any of the physical features of the place? Well, exactly that is what landscape architecture entails. It uses the denomination of nature and modern ways of open floor planning in architecture and makes out of the box buildings that help sustain nature and biodiversity of the place. Some of those buildings have been featured in Nat Geo and Netflix as “ an evolution in valuing of nature”.
Bird’s nest, china
Architecture that has been inspired by the shapes and structures in nature is called biomorphic architecture. The architecture is morphed or made into this structure that we see in nature like the folding of leaves or ant hills or a bird’s nest to make one of a kind architecture. It is often incorporated, more commonly, by planting trees and greenery in the buildings themselves and denote a greener and livelier space in the interiors and exteriors. Examples of such design is the Aqua towers in Great Lakes, Bird’s nest stadium, China.
NATURE-FRIENDLY BUILDING DESIGNS
The Orange Cube building
Are there buildings that are made keeping in mind the flora and fauna of the place? Well yes. There are certain places that have naturally installed a feature of the whole buildings and houses themselves to give an ode to the natural habitat and not really taking survival of the fittest as an agenda to destroy the local wildlife. Buildings like The Orange Cube have developed a conical bird’s nest into the buildings and have an orange façade with holes in it to attract birds. Some of the houses are typically made to attract butterflies and birds and insects for both humans and the animal kingdom to relish.
Japanese architecture inspired by elements of Earth
Japanese interiors have traditionally been all about minimalism in how nature can be inspiring everything that is used to make furniture. Most the Japanese interiors are natural materials like wood, bamboo, cane and the like as it is considered good for health and posture. Most of the interiors that celebrate minimalism are inspired by sustainability in nature and using limited and sufficient lifestyle choices. Clay and bamboo houses have become increasingly popular to many as architecture takes the route to sustainability.