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Biomimicry: I love you so hard
by Katy Purviance on 03/05/09 @ 05:34:57 pm
Categories: Green Design, Articles | 264 words | 3719 views

Blaine Brownell of Discover Magazine wrote this little piece of eye candy I thought you’dlike to see –


Sustainable Architecture Takes Cues From the Original Green: Nature

Want to cool a building? Steal a trick from the forest canopy and use leaves for shade, as Osaka University did with its Frontier Research Center(pictured above). Builders, architects, and designers seeking better ways to go green are increasingly turning to nature—the original green—for solutions that have proven track records in the real world.

Engineering inspired by nature can be “functionally indistinguishable from the elegant designs we see in the natural world,” says Janine Benyus, a leading proponent of nature-based design and founder of the >Biomimicry Institute. Benyus says the strategy has already yielded a wide range of new products that may replicate nature’s successes: ceramics with the strength and toughness of abalone shells, self-assembling computer chips that form by processes similar to the way that tooth enamel grows, adhesives that >mimic the glue that mussels use to anchor themselves in place, and self-cleaning plastics based on the structure of a lotus leaf.

Some biomimicry efforts are tackling large-scale challenges such as supplying energy to an entire building. The Kyoto-based company Kyosemi has developed a power-harvesting solar cell that imitates the way that trees collect sunlight from various angles with their leaves. Called Sphelar, the product comprises little spherical cells that can be incorporated into a building’s windows. Unlike standard photovoltaic panels, Sphelar can absorb light from many directions, providing more consistent power generation as the sun moves across the sky.


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I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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