“Biomimicry” is the science of designing after nature; imitating its patterns and systems. Isn’t this a strange concept? By mimicking nature, we betray our deep-rooted sense of apartness. Though technically animals, we seem to exist unbound by typical feedback loops, having to regulate our behavior and minimize our impact. Mankind considers itself a destructive and unwelcome presence in the natural ecology. When was this balance upset? How have different cultures related to nature through their history? Our buildings can provide insight.
I believe that certain forms are intrinsic to nature: round forms and triangles, which provide optimal volume and strength. Nature seeks the most efficient solution. Primitive man used the same forms for shelter; round enclosures for building footprint, livestock, and defense enclosed the maximum area per amount of availablebuilding material. Triangular lean-tos and huts are naturally stable and lightweight. This iron-age dwelling from Ireland combines these forms. The earliest known “civilization” has been unearthed in Mesopotamia, and with it a new formal order. The square is the imprint of mankind. As separate cultures began urbanizing,