Just back from my first visit to Ecobuild 2013 at the Excel Centre, London. Having taken my time deliberately this morning I got in at 12:30, just in time for great talks by Jo Wright (Feilden Clegg Bradley), and Henry Luker (Max Fordham). Jo focussed on the HIVE library in Worcester. It’s an amazing looking building, but also an amazingly functional one. I wrote one of my first pieces on developing positive and negative pressure and so inducing air flow, from geometry derived from Prairie Dog mounds. While she alluded to a more aesthetic use of bio-inspired architecture in the shape and material of the roof of HIVE was reminiscent of barnacles, it was interesting to note this almost convergent evolution in functional building design with my work on the dissertation.
Henry Luker was also talking about ventilation, but this time in the planned extension of the Tate Modern. Being an engineer his presentation was very focused on base loads and the stringent requirements to maintain the art displays, an art ‘comfort zone’, outlined on a psychrometric chart. Might even be enough to actually get me physically into an art gallery!
I made a point (inspired by Jo mentioning barnacles) to ask them about their views on biomimetic design. They seemed to be aware of the idea, and very open to it, which was nice. Though I think I perceived in both of them an awareness that biomimicry can provide solutions in specific contexts, they were both gentle in pointing out that it is not the ‘one true faith‘, which is very important. In an age when fastening onto green trends is not just sad, but can pose outright problems, a measured approach is an important consideration.
Those following my twitter feed might have realised that I had a chance meeting with Dr. Rupert Soar. For those unaware of how hilariously cool this was, check out my articles talking about his work on termite mounds and how we can design biomimetic buildings. Just having a pie and an informal chat with him and his associate David Andreen discussing biomimicry, 3d printing and ‘physiomimicry’ is enough to inspire a number of articles on biomimicry, physiomimicry (Hey BiologyToDesign, did you include THAT one in the project?) and 3d printing but those will have to wait, as I hope to have a proper interview with the man himself later on down the line!
Until then, roll on day 2!
This ecobuild conference thing is totally my jam, btw.