Architecture around the world is becoming increasingly daring, in terms of height, shape and style. It can feel that the designers and engineers are defying the rules of nature, but that is actually mistaken. Many concepts are taken directly from nature itself.
Surprisingly comfortable (for termites) despite looking undeniably alien, termite dens maintain a temperature of 30 degrees c, no matter the weather outside. When taking into account the size of the builders, termite dens are the greatest feat of engineering especially in terms of height. They are extremely robust, and built in a specific shape to work with the sun. African builder, Mick Pearce made headlines when he used Termite Dens as the inspiration for an office building in Harare, Zimbabwe. This building uses 90 percent less energy, to either heat or cool, when compared to traditional buildings. The structure consists of two buildings that shelter and interior atrium, with a series of vents that keep the building cool and well ventilated.
Have you ever seen Beijing’s National Aquatics Centre? It is called the Watercube. Earthquake-resistant, and so soft on the eye. The inspiration for this amazing building that was built for the Olympic Games in 2008 was none other than soap bubbles. It is was created with an internal steel frame of shapes welded together, mimicking the geometry of soap bubbles.
“Skulls in general are extraordinary impact-resistant structures and extremely light at the same time as they protect the most important organs of an animal body and this performance and physical property can be applied in structure or architecture design,” says architect Andres Harris, who has studied animal bones – especially skulls of birds, and this has sparked the concept of designing a highly efficient bio-inspired surface.
Most of the bone tissues, especially in larger song bird skulls, are build up from non-directional spongiosa cells, which mean they are configured by pneumatized cells that allow air voids between solid material areas reducing the overall weight of the structure without affecting its strength. The resultant configuration of the system is a highly strong and highly lightweight material system where the main structural performance relies on different cell components that are integrated into a major pneumatized system and it is not focalized just on the outer layer. ~ Andres Harris
Harnessing this technology could revolutionise the architecture and the building of structures such as cars and planes too.
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