architecture have always been closely related. People used to see buildings as
a form of shelter, creating a physical separation from its surrounding.
However, as time went on perceptions of buildings changed with the use of
various styles of design and construction. The creators became more aware of
the effects a building has on society and that it should not only act as a
shield but also, reflect on its environment. Frank Lloyd Wright believed that “architecture
should be complementary with nature, reflecting the characteristics present
Nature’s forms have always been the primary source of inspiration and were used
symbolically and metaphysically in design for centuries. The Ancient Greek temples
and columns used plants in ornamentation to symbolise nature. Leonardo da Vinci
(1452-1519) for instance, is considered to be the first biomimetic designer2
as many of his inventions were not only inspired by forms, but also functions in
nature such as the ‘flying machine’ inspired by birds’ wings. In addition,
Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), an artist and architect of the Renaissance
period who was inspired by the form of eggshells when designing the dome of
Sanra Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence in 1420. However, “it was not until
the 19th century that thinkers had made the leap from ‘mere’
observation to application”3
of nature. Although creators were using nature for design inspiration for centuries,
the relationship between architecture, art, and nature, developed further
through the use of new technological developments. Today architectural designs have
grown out of the need for shelter and expression into more dynamic and
complicated structures. Can nature provide new ways to “Touch This Earth
through biomimetic design?
Harris, Fractal Architecture: Organic Design Philosophy in Theory and
Practice. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2012), 363.
2 Jake Scobey-Thal,
“Biomimetics: A Short History,” Foreign Policy, December 01, 2014,
accessed November 6, 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/01/biomimetics-a-short-history/.
3 Ilaria Mazzoleni, Architecture
Follows Nature-biomimetic Principles for Innovative Design (CRC Pr I Llc,
4 “Glenn Murcutt – Touch The
Earth Lightly,” Vimeo, January 20, 2018, , accessed November 10, 2017,