The book of the mimicry of the living


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And everything else?

To be fair to the building I have not seen anything directly relating the ideas of transport as squid inspired, so we can drop that here. The main article on Architizer itself includes the following quote in reference to our remaining sustainable features:

The qualities of this biomimicry include transparency, flexibility, movement and protective pigmentation. These characteristics are used to address the main elements (sun, air flow, water, and vegetation) that influence the technological envelope and unique shape of the tower.

I’m all for plants in urban areas BTW, but biophillia ≠ biomimicry. Just because you have plants doesn’t mean you are ‘mimicking’ anything natural. You just have plants. I keep pots on windowsills all over the flat, but I don’t claim I’m inspired by a squid to do it. cthulu says The other features, rainwater harvesting and the stack/bouyancy effect airflow are fine in principle. Proven design features that have been included in a number of buildings. But again, there is no reason that these concepts have been derived from squid. The thing lives in water. It doesn’t need to harvest it. In fact it couldn’t even harvest it if it needed to. Take a squid out of water for a few hours and all you have is quarter of a paella.

Probably the worst part of the whole article, the passage actually implies squid have chimneys. I’ve seen a few tentacle beasties in my time, and it’s well known that I am not a huge fan. However, I think I would have noticed if one of them had a “large central atrium which acts as a chimney”.  I’ve in fact written vastVAST amounts on animals that do make large central atrium’s that act as chimneys, so I think I’d have spotted it here.

Ironically, the design of central atrium itself actually has a huge fan. Some poorly defined idea about harnessing the air flow to power a wind turbine. I’ll believe that when I see it inevitably not work.

I’m just going to go calm down for a minute. In the mean time have a look at this fantastic video of squid chromatophores reacting to being wired to an iPod playing Cypress Hill.

Final thoughts…

I’ve often discussed with a friend the ‘development curve’ of technologies. It always starts with a few people trying out a few things, mostly well thought out projects with strong link between research and application. Then more and more people see the ‘fashion’, though as they do, the general quality of the work decreases.

The Hype Cycle

What this means is that biomimicry is being more widely viewed, but far less better understood. Nature, in the form of the global climate change, is the prime demonstration that feedback systems are a bitch, and as biomimicrists we need to really learn from nature and do our best to prevent the pollution of our field by poor ideas and worse understanding.


Author: davergp

Environmental Geoscience BSc. Environmental Design of Buildings MSc. Bonsai Hobbyist, Woodland Enthusiast, Environ-mentalist.

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