What is Biomimicry?

1. Overview of the Topic – Summary:

From the Biomimicry Institute:

“Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.”

From Wikipedia:

“Biomimicry was popularized by scientist and author Janine Benyus in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Biomimicry is defined in the book as a “new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems”.

2. What is the focus of this Topic?:

From the Biomimicry Institute:

“The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.”

In essence, it is learning from the wisdom of nature’s designs to then apply this knowledge and wisdom to provide solutions to the human created world.

3. Why it’s listed here – What is the relevance to Architectural Medicine?

As a key component of Architectural Medicine is indeed Architecture and the built environment, and the more that the designs, engineering and systems of the built world can be in tune with nature’s systems, including of course human health, the less potential there can be for disease and the greater capacity can exist for health and well being.

By utilizing the wisdom of nature and implementing nature’s core design lessons into current and future architecture, there can be many benefits for the health of humans as well as the many other organisms that live on planet Earth. This means that designing using these Biomimicry approaches can provide good health for humans, as well as the ecology of the planet. This, in turn, can support short and long term health for all living organisms in the natural and built environments.

4. Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:

The term biomimetics was coined in the mid 1900’s by the American Otto Schmitt who developed the concept of “biomimetics”.[5] During his doctoral research he developed the Schmitt trigger by studying the nerves in squid, attempting to engineer a device that replicated the biological system of nerve propagation.[6] He continued to focus on devices that mimic natural systems and by 1957 he had perceived a converse to the standard view of biophysics at that time, a view he would come to call biomimetics.[5] In 1969 Schmitt used the term “biomimetic“ in the title one of his papers,[8] and by 1974 it had found its way into Webster’s Dictionary, bionics entered the same dictionary earlier in 1960.

In the late 1990’s, Janine Benyus

Design Inspiration from Nature – an interview with Janine Benyus:

Janine Benyus – biomimicry.org/janine-benyus/

5. Resources: