December 1, 2011

Biomimicry “The answers that nature provide”

 Biomimicry and its relationship to new ideas and or answers to problems experienced in different professions opened my eyes to the myriad of applications related to structural engineering, Architecture and design.

We spent four days in the bush as part of South African tourisms media tour with EcoTraining with Will Lawson, a naturalist appointed by Biomimicry South Africa to be the link between professionals and the intricacy found in nature.

Essentially we were thought how to interpret the bush and to find answers to problems related to structural engineering, workflow design, Architecture and medical fields.

Biomimicry on Safari (South Africa has become the second largest growth spot for Biomimicry after the US) I attached the course details related to Biomimicry to give you some insight into the 5 day Biomimicry Safari

Some examples that will astound you and expand your horizons are:

Termite mound;  The termite is an essential part of every ecosystem in which it is found.  It serves as nature's gardener; removing dead material and cycling nutrients in a complex system above and below the ground. Simply put, without them, the systems which they serve would collapse. Even though they are often found in extreme environments, they must maintain an internal temperature of around 87 degrees Fahrenheit. By opening and closing vents, chambers and tunnels in a complex subterranean network cool air is drawn in and warm, humid air is channelled out of a central chimney.  In Harare, Zimbabwe, Mick Pearse designed and built the Eastgate Centre.  The first building of its kind that used the time tested technique of the termites in order to cool 5,600 m² of retail space, 26,000 m² of office space and parking for 450 cars through entirely natural or 'passive' means.  The result; a building that uses 10%of the energy requirements of a building of similar character using conventional means. Portcullis House, Westminster, London, copied the flow mechanism to cool the offices opened in 2001 for 213 members of Parliament and staff.

Shongololo Chair; This is the link for haldane martin and the shongololo chair;

Haldane Martin is a contemporary furniture design company in South African, Cape Town.  Haldane Martin is owner, director and designer of the company and has been working as an industrial designer for two decades.  He has whole hearted accepted natural models as thought provoking stimulus to his award winning portfolio.  One such design, inspired by the humble millipede is the Shongololo Couch.  Reminiscent of Ueli Bergers 1970's style, the fractal nature of the chair mimics that of the segmented millipede.  As the millipede grows, more segments develop to support and protect it's internal organs.  As such the couch serves to rethink the way in which interior spaces are used and is a flexible and adaptable as it's natural model.

For more information on the 2012 Biomimicry dates please contact or visit our website at for information on our courses.
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