Biomimicry in Architecture by Michael Pawlyn (Book Review)

The book opens with a quote from Buckminster Fuller. "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." From there on in Pawlyn sets out to demonstrate how biomimicry offers architects a whole new system to design by. A system that will produce not only radically more efficient and effective structures, with great savings on material and energy costs, but also stunningly beautiful buildings that will have the 'bilbao effect' wherever they are located.

He writes: "Many current approaches to environmentally sustainable architecture are based on mitigation. The suggestion from the examples collected in this book is that it is possible to go further than this, and for some buildings to be regenerative... The intention is therefore to transcend the mimicking of natural forms and attempt to understand the principles that lie behind those forms and systems."

The six core chapters seek to answer six key environmental questions: How could we build more efficient structures? How will we manufacture materials? How we will create zero-waste systems? How will manage water? How will we control our thermal environment? How will we produce energy for our buildings? Throughout these chapters are case studies which show extraordinary man made structures and their inspirations in nature, alongside Pawlyn's beautiful preparatory sketches and diagrams, including his early concept sketches for the Plastiki boat.

The book is available from the RIBA and (the latter is currently charging a significant premium).

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