While architecture has always been built to resemble the natural world, biometric architecture, an emerging field in the industry, is looking to the way living flora and fauna thrive as a way to enhance construction. The architects in this field look at everything from mollusks to fungus for better ways to build.
One of the most remarkable and successful ways that biometric architecture has been implemented is introducing cyanobacteria into building materials. This bacterium is found in oceans and helps coral grow; it is now being used to help concrete become self-healing, able to withstand and quickly recover from severe weather conditions.
The blue mussel mollusk contributes to the construction industry, as tech innovators use the amino acids found in these shellfish to create a building adhesive that is completely free of hazardous and volatile organic compounds.
One building that has used biometric architecture significantly and effectively is the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore. It has a responsive façade that mimics the semi-rigid skin of the durian plant, which is covered in spines to protect its seeds. In addition, the theater adjusts its exterior as the sun moves through the sky to let in enough sunlight to light the building without overheating it.
Biometric architects have also found inspiration in termite mounds, where fungus growing inside the mounds helps to insulate them to keep the structures at 87 degrees Fahrenheit, despite the outside temperature varying from 35 degrees to 104 degrees during a single day.
Zimbabwe’s Eastgate Center uses this same idea, utilizing air vents that run from the base of the structure, up through the walls, and out the top, maintaining an internal temperature of 82 degrees, and using 33% energy than the average building in the country.
Biometric architects continue to look for additional ways to use construction methods from the natural world and translate them into blueprints.