“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Mother Nature is always shifting and changing. In order for us to survive, we have to adapt. As they say, “Necessity is the mother of all invention,” but necessity is brought about by the changes in the environment. So as nature bring about changes, all creatures including plants, animals, and humans are forced to evolve and adapt.
Nature and the process of evolution have been inspiring engineers, designers, and architects for years to create designs that are not only beautiful to look at but also very practical. Some of these designs are even employing adaptive features that are very innovate but remain replicative of nature.
Here are ten examples of awesome architectural designs inspired by nature.
1. MMAA Building
The Aesthetics Architects Go Group from Bangkok designed the office of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture in Doha, Qatar, based on the cactus, a plant commonly found in the desert.
The designers hoped that the infrastructure will be a haven of comfort in the middle of the desert. They aimed the design to be energy-efficient, with sunshade panels that open and close, depending on the sun’s intensity. A botanic garden can also be found in the botanic dome at the base of the building. The designers structured the building like a cacti thriving comfortably in the arid environment.
2. Lotus Temple
Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba took the lotus flower as his inspiration for his design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India. The temple is the center for worship of the Baha’i Faith followers.
The infrastructure sits on a 26-acre land surrounded by ponds and gardens. It has twenty-seven free-standing marble clad petals that are clustered in three to form nine sides. The design is a stipulation of the religion. It has nine entrances, which all lead to a central hall that can accommodate 2,500 people.
3. Taipei 101
Taipei 101 was formerly known as Taipei World Financial Center, and it was the world’s tallest building from 2004 until 2009. It is located in the Xinyi District in Taipei. Designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners, the building was based on the indigenous slender bamboo of the country. The bamboo is an icon of learning and growth.
In July 2011, the building was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification as being one of the greenest buildings in the world.
4. Palm Islands
In Dubai, UAE, an artificial archipelago was created in a shape of a palm tree and topped with a crescent. The aptly named Palm Islands is made of sand from the Persian Gulf. The archipelago will house residential and commercial establishments. There will be hotels, beachside villas, apartments, theme parks, and restaurants in the archipelago.
The Palm Islands is still under construction by Nakheel Properties. Jan De Nul and Van Oord, Belgian and Dutch land reclamation experts are in charge of the dredging operations.
5. Bird’s Nest Stadium
Designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, the Bird’s Nest Stadium or the Beijing National Stadium was made for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The stadium is made out of 110,000 tons of steel, and as its name suggests, it looks like a giant bird’s nest.
The stadium prides itself for an advanced energy-saving design and environment-friendly features. It has natural ventilation and lighting, a recycling system for rainwater, a renewable geothermal energy sources, and it also uses of photovoltaic power technologies. All in all, the cost for construction went over US$420 million.
6. Center for Disease Control Complex
Taiwan’s new Center for Disease Control BioLab’s unique design was an entry for a design challenge for the building. The design was the creation of Manfredi and Luca Nicoletti. Taking inspiration from the shell of a nautilus, the two buildings, nicknamed as the Biolab Squadron, features interlacing geometric incisions in its outer skin.
The pattern is a reproduction of the four conventional symbols atrributed to the DNA sequence of the bacteria being studied in the center. The design is able to create a homogenous surface engraved with symbols known only to scientists.
7. Chicago Spire
Chicago Spire has a design inspired by a seashell. The design was created by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and developed by Shelbourne Development. Due to numerous financial difficulties and design revisions, the project had to end even when many people supported it.
The construction was ended in 2008 with the foundation work completed. Its Irish developer faced a US$77 million lawsuit.
8. Redwoods Treehouse
The Redwoods Treehouse is a restaurant that can serve up to thirty guests. It sits 10 meters high in a redwood tree. Its design was inspired by insect cocoons.
An elevated walkway made out of redwood that was milled on site serves as access to the treehouse. Experience Group is the organization that exclusively manages the treehouse. They offer a dedicated thirty-two-seater coach for transportation of guests to and from the treehouse.
9. Aldar Headquarters Building
Aldar Headquarters Building in Abu Dhabi was voted as the Best Futuristic Design of 2008. It is one of the most unique infrastructures in the skyline of the city. The design was inspired by a seashell.
The building uses grids of steel to maintain its shape. It is Middle East’s first circular building. It features international Grade A specification with floor to ceiling glazing. It has a double-height dual entrance lobby. Visitors in the building can enjoy an amazing view of the entire city of Abu Dhabi and Al Raha beach.
10. Beijing Water Cube
The Water Cube is the famous nickname of the Beijing National Aquatics Center. It was commissioned for the 2008 Summer Olympics by the Chinese government. The entire building looks like a cube of water with bubbles, but at closer a look, the Water Cube is made from steel space frame with ETFE (a fluorine-based plastic).
The Water Cube hosted events such as swimming, diving, and synchronized events during the Olympics. It can sit 7,000–17, 000 people. Its ETFE cladding allows more light and heat to penetrate, reducing energy costs and making the building green.
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