Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Art and Art History
John P. Swaddle
Alan C. Braddock
Biomimicry be defined simply as imitating elements and processes in nature and applying them to complex human problems. This paper will unpack this special term’s loaded meaning and rich past in much more detail, but by latching on to this fundamental concept of integrating organic forms in our engineering, we can glean strong parallels between human infrastructure and natural ecosystems. I adopt the view that biomimetic architecture, much like a habitat, operates on three different levels – organism, behavior, and ecosystem. I want to study how these scales of gel together, forming the main thrust of this ‘biotic’ design.
Upon closer inspection of this special subset of “living” architecture there are several more questions and considerations that I look forward to researching: How have past and present architects sought inspiration from nature to inform their craft and to what extent? Beyond replicating organic forms aesthetically, is it also possible to mimic organic systems to further improve and innovate the function of buildings? In other words, can biomimetics allow architects to fully realize the potential of “earthly” engineering?
Perhaps the answers found in this study will make the translation of biomimicry theory into practice more clear. I am confident that cross-connecting art, ecology, and technology will provide a comprehensive critique of biomimetics (and its relation to its counterparts like Green, Morphogenetic, Metabolic and Organic design) that could endorse this brand of architecture as a remedy to social and environmental challenges (such as overcrowding, industrial pollution, and unsustainable building practices).
Vasanth, Tara, "Embodied Nature: Biomimetic Architecture as a Philosophy and Practice" (2023). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1910.
On-Campus Access Only