Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lavasa becomes architectural testing ground for the fashionable new “science” of biomimicry

A new architectural science that mimics nature: hope or hype?

It may not even be the most sensible endeavour, but it’s what HOK, an American design firm, and the Biomimicry Guild, a “consultancy for bio-inspired design”, have set out to do at Lavasa, billed as “Free India’s Largest Hill City”
It’s been tried in a few parts of the world, but on a much smaller scale. The Swiss Re building in London, designed by Lord Norman Foster, is modelled on the structure of a sea sponge, with gaps in each floor creating shafts that ventilate the building. The Eastgate Center in Zimbabwe uses ventilation structures similar to those found in termite mounds.

In India, however, the goal is much bigger; a “bio-inspired city” has never been attempted earlier.

The guiding principles of the new science are fairly straightforward. Nature knows best; the “greenest” constructions are those that emulate natural design. The Biomimicry Guild believes that the way to making the city sustainable is to emulate the processes and design strategies of the moist deciduous forests of the region, which they say are “locally attuned, benign, interdependent and optimized”.

Shuttling between Lavasa and offices in Mumbai and St Louis, the architects at HOK have been working frantically to translate those principles into practise. Biologists from the Biomimicry Guild have been flown in from across the world; and extensive three-way discussions held between the unlikely combination of biologists, architects and HCC site engineers.

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1 comment:

  1. sovereignarchitects
    is also the best architecture, I have done some interior designing and now I feel happy.

    Architects in Pune