Monday, February 21, 2011

Nature in Architecture by Michael Pawlyn

In this TED Talk, designer Michael Pawlyn of Exploration discusses the advantages of biomimicry for the future of architecture and design. Pawlyn begins by citing a few examples of nature's own inventive ways of adapting to specific climate needs and indeed, makes a very clever analogy out of this evolutionary advantage:
"You could look at nature as being a catalog of product's and all of those have benefited from a 3.8 billion year research and development period, and given that length of investment, it kind of makes sense to use it."
Throughout the talk, Pawlyn uses examples of existing technologies and projects that learn from nature's example and use bio-mimicry to solve what he sees as the three necessary steps to becoming truly sustainable:

1. Radical increases in resource efficiency
2. Linear to closed loop systems
3. Fossil fuel economy to solar economy

Perhaps the most intriguing indictment against us is expressed in Pawlyns second step - the comparison of our current method of resource use versus the way nature does. Our current mode of design, consists of extracting resources, turning them into "short-life products", and then disposing of them. However, this contrasts greatly with the way nature uses resources. In the natural model, everything that is created is used, - the waste generated in one system, is used for energy in another. By altering our current mode of design to a "systems" model, we are able to add value to waste, which is currently now a completely negative by-product.

Video via TED.
Seen on ArchDaily.