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    International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (IJCIET)

    Volume 9, Issue 2, February 2018, pp. 644–660, Article ID: IJCIET_09_02_062

    Available online at

    ISSN Print: 0976-6308 and ISSN Online: 0976-6316

    © IAEME Publication Scopus Indexed



    Shanta Pragyan Dash

    Faculty of Architecture, Manipal Academy of Higher Education,

    Academic Block-2, MIT Campus, Manipal, Karnataka, India


    The study of application of biomimicry on building envelope and its response to

    any building design challenge is the main structure of the research. It examines nature

    as one of the basis for resolving these challenges. It continues to discuss the

    application of possible strategies for establishment of an architectural configuration

    compatible to its structure. The incorporation of biomimicry idea in architectural

    design is believed to be more sustainable and efficient for reduction of energy usage

    and operating cost consumption along with design renewal in the future. The idea of

    inspiration from nature has developed the intention on this research to explore how

    the concept could be applied to overcome the challenges through design strategies.

    The paper concludes with the formulation of a design guideline with evident

    biomimetic principles that could be applied to any building design with reference to

    different contexts to achieve energy efficiency in building design.

    Keywords: Biomimicry, Biomimetic principles, Building design, Design strategies,

    Energy efficiency.

    Cite this Article: Shanta Pragyan Dash, Application of Biomimicry in Building

    Design, International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, 9(2), 2018,

    pp. 644–660.


    There are several technological approaches and solutions to maximize building efficiency

    mostly which are termed as passive solutions to minimize the expense and impact of

    technologies by implementing more natural approaches of allowing nature to do the work.

    Biomimetic architecture represents a promising approach in this direction.

    Biomimicry is an ideology that combines biology with architecture to achieve a complete

    amalgamation of building and nature. It aims at studying the natural processes found in nature

    and uses it for the welfare of mankind.

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    The research aims at identifying the possibilities of linking and applying biological

    principles to explore the potential of emerging sciences for developing a design solution for a

    striking architecture which is amiable with its surroundings and works to realize that what the

    site desires.

    It also aims to draw nature into the body of a building through light, sound and landscape

    which will ultimately accomplish the architecture that connects the spirit of human soul and



    1.1. Evolution of biomimicry: Inspired from nature:

    The evolution of the concept of biomimicry appeared in early 1980s but was popularized by

    Janine Benyus, a scientist and an author, who brought forth an innovative way in design

    taking nature as key source of inspiration to solve any design challenge. In her book named

    “Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature” published in 1997, she defined Biomimicry idea

    as ”a new science which studies nature as a model and an inspiration from which one can

    imitate its design and process to solve human problems”. The idea behind the concept is

    emphasizing sustainability as a major objective of biomimicry which when applied to

    building design in order to increase the strength of materials through self-healing and self-

    assembling properties, could offer better solutions to increase the performance of building,

    saving energy and cutting down material costs by eliminating wastes.

    Biomimicry is often termed as an evolutionary process taking inspiration from nature to

    generate systems and processes infinitely seeking a close fit to the ever changing environment


    Figure 1 Concept of Biomimicry

    The representation of the concept can be depicted as a spiral feedback process with organ

    as the individual product and organisms as systems and processes which undergoes a

    continuous refinement with an ultimate goal to achieve sustainability (Fig-2).

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    Figure 2 Biomimicry Design Spiral

    From the understanding of process of Biomimicry, it can be presumed that any problem

    created by human with respect to build environment can find its solution from nature and the

    process can be imitated successfully aligned in response to the context.


    There are basically two approaches to biomimicry which plays an integral part in design

    process. Firstly, identifying human problems and looking into the ways through which other

    organisms or eco-systems can resolve this problem which is termed as Design looking to

    Biology (Top-Down Approach).

    The basic idea is identifying similar issues in nature and how it has been resolved which

    shall help the designers to effectively identify the initials goals and parameters for the design


    Figure 3 Design to Biology (Top –Down Approach)

    This kind of approach is an outcome of the designer’s knowledge and ideas that comes

    from the design principles which results in the integration of nature’s strategies to finally

    arrive at a solution to any design challenge.

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    Secondly, identifying a particular function or the behavior of an organism or ecosystem

    and then transforming it to human design which is termed as Biology to Design (Bottom-Top


    In this case, the biological knowledge influences human design which is basically a collaborative

    design process mainly relying on the knowledge of relevant biological research (Fig-4)

    Figure 4 Biology to Design (Bottom- Top Approach)

    In the perspective of these two approaches of biomimicry, architectural design can also be

    categorized under three major levels, i.e. form (organism), process (behavior) and function

    (eco-system). The organism level refers to an organism which may involve a part or whole

    which can be mimicked. The behavioral level explains about the behavior or response of an

    organism to a particular context. The eco-system level explains the mimicking the function of

    an entire eco-system.

    For the analysis of an organism or ecosystem, the key components which can be

    mimicked are both the form and process. The application of all these levels are based on the

    designers design program and the existing context where the design is going to be




    In the field of architecture, the application of biomimicry mainly emphasizes on improving

    the built environment through development of site work, construction and operation and

    reduction in the environmental impacts like carbon emissions, wastes etc.

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    Figure 5 Historic Evolution of Bio-Mimic Concept

    Examples of biomimicry in architecture can be seen through ages in different forms (Fig-

    5).The concept was prior adopted as an ornamented elements which subsequently transformed

    to functional, structural as well as aesthetic part of design.

    There are extensive sources of knowledge and ideas from the history to refer and apply in

    architectural design to allow the design to be more sustainable. Even if there are numerous

    examples in past, but their applications differ based on the context and needs. Some solutions

    offer flexibility in design whereas others give structural stability by integrating the ideas of

    biomimicry in architectural components (Fig-6).

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    Figure 6 Architectural Components Inspired from Biomimicry



    There are many extensive researches conducted on Biomimicry but the exploration for

    understanding the process primarily depends on the topic of enquiry. In architectural

    perspective, literature study of biomimicry analyzing its application in design processes shall

    be the concurrent investigation in the research process. This section of literature study

    examines the published research works about the different perspectives of biomimicry and its