Since long time, nature has always inspired man in the construction and architecture. Any gap between the path of mankind and the behavior of nature over history of evolution, has caused obvious phenomenon generally known as natural harms or irregularities. Beautiful and diverse works of art are created when man follows nature in engineering and architecture. Bionics in architecture means the usage of principles of nature in architecture.
What is nowadays quite visible in engineering designs is that experts are inclined to move in that direction from different engineering and architectural perspectives. However, what is needed in the design of buildings in the Third Millennium is the question of synthesis and interaction between architecture and technology.
This paper aims at overviewing the bionics in architecture in order to study the originality of the design from the structural and architectural perspectives and in conformity with the natural behavior and essentials needs of technology-based modern life in the current century.
The study also seeks to prove that the trend of education and construction designs in the Third Millennium should be done through a team composed of architects, structure designers, electric and mechanic system designers, who have a perspective of utilizing nature especially in the context of surrounding environment, and pay due attention to the naturalenvironment and landscape.
Finally, in the event that bionics is observed in architecture, the outcome of the work would be beautiful shapes and original designs for which no outside beauty with phony concepts would be needed.
Keywords: Bionics in Architecture; Residential-Sports Complex, Nature, Kermanshah
Man has two physical and spiritual aspects which, as under the sway of environmental elements, could be either improved or worn-out. The life-style of modern man which takes shape mainly in metropolis cities, multiplies the destructive and affective elements on human life .
One of the main sources of mental and spiritual disorders of the people can be found in the daily concerns caused by the impacts and consequences of urban life-style.
As a crowded and rackety large city with extensive cultural and social diversity caused by uncontrolled immigration of people from other cities, Kermanshah suffers from intensive urban-life problems.
This project aims at reducing the mental harms in such urban societies, creating nature-friendly environment which would be free from stresses of urban activities; a natural environment which could serve both as ‘mother’ and teacher, a place for productive leisure time to nurture individual and social skills. In order to achieve this project’s objectives, the study was conducted in four main areas of library-based, internet research, questionnaire, and field studies.
As a result of this research and based on the specifics of the project site and also in accordance with an architectural process, a residential-sports complex was designed based on a realistic outcome of the academic studies and experiences which ensures a natural space with natural elements in an area with good weather in Kermanshah metropolis that is expected to bring about positive cultural and social impacts for different layers of society .
Irrespective of age, people want quality and are ready to pay for recreational and sports facilities that would create suitable conditions for various aspects of their life. The same applies to a state of life where individuals have a feeling of satisfaction that would extend to a wide range of their life and individuals values .
Most people have the dream of living in a decent environment. However, due to the current social and economic situation in Iran, the quantitative approach towards residential-recreational-sports spaces and mere attention to the economic viability of residential-sports spaces have resulted in lowering the quality of such spaces .
Also, the use of tedious patterns and neglecting the diversity of the society has become one of the fundamental problems regarding sports spaces. This has resulted in the lowering the quality of such spaces and increased
dissatisfaction of wealthier layers of society. In recent years, a need has been felt for deeper insight into the design and construction of sports spaces with the international quality standards, and based on pre-designed patterns. Otherwise, the planning of construction of sports complexes will be merely based on economic utilization, rather than the needs of recent decades.
Such practice has resulted, in the past, to repetition of same patterns of the operators and users, which were not in harmony with their needs and requirements.
Taking into account the impact of sports spaces on physical and mental health, the lack or insufficiency of such spaces in this province [Kermanshah], especially in the selected area will result in wide range of social, cultural and other serious social disorders such as the leisure time spent in improper environments, and increase in mental, moral and physical diseases.
The identification of effective elements residential satisfaction is, therefore, one of the main objectives of the planners in increasing residential satisfaction and ultimately, in increasing quality of life .
One of the trends in bionic architecture is the enlivening of the building, which the designers utilize on the basis of the capacity strength of the structure to enliven, using straight or pure curves in order to ensure gradual induction of the total structure. The most important issue in bionic architecture is that the building should be able to induce its live character.
In this context, the purpose of this study can be defined as follows: upgrading the quality of the man-made spaces, with specific emphasis on public spaces such as sports and residential spaces which are used by large number of users.
- Achieving a suitable idea and design for a sports-residential center in a specific area in Kermanshah province;
- Ensuring users’ satisfaction at the national and international level in order to increase the optimum quality in such an environment;
- Combining sports and residential usages in sports camps, thereby resolving the problems affiliated with the distinction of these two usages;
- Using national patterns with the bionic approach in form creation;
- Strategic approach with regards to the site and form creation in conformity with the sites and its topography.
2. RESEARCH LITERATURE
Bionics in architecture in the areas of designing, architecture, and engineering has been one of the most significant achievements of recent years in the area of improving designing process.
Designing inspired from nature can play a significant role in a wide range of today’s scientific and industrial activities such as architecture, industrial designing, civil engineering and mechanical and industrial engineering. Bionics is a modern science inspired by nature that makes it possible to find responses to different technical questions.
Like in other sciences, architecture can also utilize bionics to inspire from nature in order to achieve proper and optimum architectural designs. Understanding bionics and other scientific achievements in this area in general and the lessons learnt from nature in architecture is, therefore, a necessary prerequisite for improvement of architecture .
The word bionic is made of bio (prefix from biology) and nic (as suffix in technic). Studying the history of bionics, its fundamental definitions and general concepts, are the first steps towards the utilization of this scientific knowledge in different areas of architecture.
An understanding of taking patterns from nature in bionics (inductive and abstract bionics) can provide us modalities for adopting patterns from nature and utilizing and analyzing the principles of existing patterns. On the other hand, this knowledge can further be extended to other areas of work on the basis of deep analysis of the phenomena and living creatures [9-11].
Nowadays, it is essential to study such issues as bionics and architecture, bionics and geometry, bionics and structures, layers of bionics, bionics and science of materials, bionics and movement process, bionics and smart systems, in order to find optimum shapes and better utilize the construction materials .
2.1.1. Classification of architectural bionics
Advancement in bionic architecture depends on the studies of researchers in bionics as an overall branch of science, with bionic architecture being one of its sub-branches. In 1983, the German scholar Y. S. Lebedev published a book entitied “Bionic Architecture” in which several issues in architecture were discussed which could be easily resolved using natural systems.
A valuable system of high efficiency and minimum use of energy could be found in living organisms. With little effort, such findings could be identified and applied to architecture.
In a general classification, bionic architecture can be divided into six main categories: designs and stencils, structure, construction materials, forms, function and process .
2.1.2. Formation of bionic architecture
Since the first time that mankind selected caves for its place of living until now that it is moving towards smart houses, nature has always been an endless source of inspiration. The realistic style of cave paintings of the pre-history art clearly shows the extent of attention of these artists to nature. They believed in the magic power of the paintings of animals and believed that if they paint an animal and then attack the animal, they would be more successful in their hunting .
Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, once said that we learn a lot from mimicking the animals. For example, we look at spiders to learn how to knit our clothes, or learn building our houses from swallows, or singing from warblers .
Nowadays, whenever there is a talk about technology one may think of the same significant technological achievements that respond to the basic needs of the contemporary and future mankind. However, if we take look at the path of technology, we can more or less find out about the origins of certain phenomena, thus, for example, we can understand that each industrial or construction phenomenon is inspired from which living natural pattern .
The constant link between mankind and nature has not always been the same. As a result, man has followed different attitudes in its approach towards nature.
The researchers have identified different categories of interaction between man and nature which, per se, have become a valuable source of research. Sometimes, for example, emphasis has been placed on the relation between man and nature from a religious and ethical perspective; and sometimes such interaction has been seen from a geographical point of view, i.e.
the perspective of eastern and western people. Also, in some instances such interactions have been studied from a historical point of view, i.e. from the era of primitive men, to Renaissance, modern and postmodern era.
For example, the relation between man and nature has been studied from a historical point of view: “The relation between man and nature through history has passed from the ancient time unilateral and strict control over man, to holiness in Egypt. Later, in Greece the position of man rises and in Rome was praised.
In this trend, man was given the eternal face of God, which was later considered as evil in the middle ages. During Renaissance humanity descended from holiness to become an element of enrichment. However, during post- Renaissance enlightenment era, it regained its importance, and became the subject of thinking and rational during the modern era.” .
As mentioned, any of these classifications provides valuable information for researcher. However, none of the, alone, can provide a comprehensive picture of the subject. For example, in the historical perspective the modern Western man has a totally different approach than the people of the East who are not familiar with the modern thinking.
Therefore, the classifications might differ on the basis of the subject of debate and study. Here, we have limited our discussion to the relation between man, the objects of architecture and nature.
We will also discuss more general concepts regarding traditional, geographical and time classifications, i.e. the different approaches towards nature that might have existed over time and in different traditions, at different geographical locations and at different times .
In such classification, one may distinguish three separate perspectives: architecture on nature, architecture with nature, and architecture of nature.
In her book Language of Landscape, Sprin wrote “nature is an abstract; a collection of ideas which are called differently in many cultures; a name for numerous real and living processes.” Lovejoy has found 64 different meanings for nature and natural in literature and philosophy from the time of ancient Greece to 18th Century.
The ancient Greeks called nature as “Phusis”. It also has the same root as the English word “photo” and the Persian word “Phanous” meaning visible. For the Greeks, Phusis was a reality that emerges from itself, appears and shows its inherent being. For the Greeks, Phusis enjoyed such a high status that encompassed being, “reality” and even the gods .
In the above classification of the interaction between man, architecture and nature, the first one, i.e. architecture on nature, is meant to refer to the environment and its related elements such as water, soil and air.
In the second classification, architecture with nature, what is meant by nature refers to ecosystem and its related factors such as sun, wind and the utilization of the energies derived from them.
Such a perspective have nowadays resulted in a kind of architecture known as sustainable architecture and the design of buildings that are self-sufficient in terms of energy, also known as green buildings [17-19].
In the third classification, architecture from nature, which is the main subject of this book, we shall use a broader concept of nature. In this context, nature encompasses whatever in creation of which man has not played a role.
Therefore, nature includes trees, animals, human beings and even the human and animal cells and senses. In this perspective, by observing the nature and thinking about such observations man tries to get inspirations for its life and technology in general, and architecture in particular .
In the world of technology, such an approach is generally known as “bionics”, which deals with the utilization of living and organic systems in technology and industry. In each field of expertise, bionics takes a different shape. It is been for decades that “bionic architecture” as an approach with its different variations, have been considered as one of these fields of expertise.
However, in 21st Century, a different version of bionic architecture has emerged that involves a complex interpretation of realities on the basis of biology, mathematics, structure and mechanics, which is generally known as architecture derived from nature. Modern sciences related algorithmic geometry, fractals, chaos theory, smart materials and systems, as well as open and closing mechanisms, have all caused changes in our perspectives.
In fact, our views about the structure of natural creatures have changed and our simple-minded modeling from nature has turned into a scientific and multi-disciplinary study. The nano-structure study of lotus leaves that resulted in the invention of self-cleaning glasses is an outstanding example of nature to have become the model of in non-structural elements of a construction .
It is worth noticing that there exists an overlap between the concepts of nature in the above three classifications. For example, in the second approach, architecture with nature, one may inspire from nature to increase resistance of the buildings.
2.1.3. Bionics and biomimetic
Bionic is the combination of two words: biology and technic. The word bionic was coined by a US Air Force Colonel, Jack E. Steele, when used the term in a conference in 1960 on “living patterns, a key to modern technologies”.
As it is understood from the word itself, bionics is the study of existing systems and methods found in nature aimed at utilizing them to resolve problems in human life. In other words, bionics is the art of utilizing the knowledge obtained from living organisms to resolve technical problems.
This field of science is not merely seeking to imitate from nature, but is intended to take proper models on the basis of its findings from nature .
Parallel to bionics, the term biomimetic has also been widely used. This word is a combination of biology and mimetic, meaning imitation. Mimetic is a term in biology to describe the study of animal behaviors. It, therefore, means that animals imitate specific behavior such as appearance, color or action in order to improve their performance.
Biomimetic focuses on the mutual impact between living organisms and their surroundings. Such terms as bionic, meaning abstracting a proper model from nature, or considering bionics and biomimetic as activities aimed at acquiring information from biology (or nature in general) for the purpose of technology, are all referring to the same concept.
Bionics and biomimetic are used to refer to the same meaning and mean, in general, a method to study best ideas in nature and, then, utilizing them in the daily life with an instrument called technology .
As mentioned above, it is not the objective of bionics merely to imitate from nature, therefore the use of term biomimetic has become a challenging issue among the researchers, because it apparently refers to mimicking from the nature. Therefore, some researchers tend to use the word “bio-inspiration”. However, biomimetic continues to be more popular term.
With the expansion of this tendency in different sciences, new terminology such as biochemistry, biophysics, biomechanics, and other terms implying a combination of nature and technology have been introduced .
2.1.4. Sub-branches of bionics
Bionics is too young to have extensive sub-branches. Nevertheless, the German researcher Nachtigall and two Taiwanese researchers offered the two following classifications, each of which being subject to further sub-divisions.
Werner Nachtigall divided bionics into three sub-categories:
1- Structural bionics: Inspiring from existing structures and materials in the nature, such as cable, membranous and shell structures;
2- Procedural bionics: Utilizing the existing processes in nature, such as the recycling of natural structures or photosynthesis process in the plants;
3- Information bionics: Processing and transfer of data from nature to different fields of science. In another categorization, two Taiwanese scholars “Shan Wang” and “Jia Ming Yei” divided the bio-simulation
into four sub-groups:
1- Control bionics: With the simulation of such performances as path-finding and movement control of organisms, we can create a new control system.
2- Mechanical bionics: With the simulation of mechanical principles and structures of living organisms we can create new mechanical and structural systems.
3- Information bionics: With the simulation of the information system of organisms, such as their reproduction, sensing systems or transfer of data, we can create a new information system.
4- Chemical bionics: With the simulation of such performances as catalytic, chemical combination and transfer of energy by organisms, we can produce chemical products such as high performance crystals, and develop new chemical technologies and new energies .
We understand from the above categorizations that the methodology of bionic designing is based on the existing specifications of organisms. Thinking on such characteristics, we can discover their underlying principles and use them as bases for human-made technological issues.
2.1.5. Bionics in architecture
The main objective of architects in entering the bionics world is to instigate innovations in architecture. Architects conduct researches in the common areas between architecture and biology in order to find proper patterns and discover novel ideas and transfer the biological specifications into architecture.
The transfer of biological criteria into architecture requires extensive debate on common fields of biology and architecture, with the purpose of utilizing bionics as a tool in architecture designing.
The common areas of architecture and biology have not yet been fully discussed. Many people are nowadays seeking to discover such commonalities, as a result of which successful achievements have so far been made.
An important question for the architects is that if the combination of specifications derived from nature with architecture would result in optimizing designs .
Some problems in architecture are resolved only through innovative solutions. Some patterns inspired from nature may prompt innovations in the architects’ minds. The first step in the application of biology in architecture, therefore, occurs at the time that a need for innovation is felt in a project. This is especially through in the following instances:
- Architecture designs for new spaces
- Problems that cannot be solved with the existing knowledge
- Establishing better link between architecture and surrounding environment
- Ensuring better quality of life
In all such instances, nature can help architects to find solutions through a study of and inspiration from nature. A movement from nature to architecture is a reasonable process, because natural patterns will expose the best examples of adaptation to nature .
2.1.6. Benefits of inspiration from nature: categorization of bionic architecture
The progress in bionic architecture depends on the extent of the researchers’ study in the area of bionics as a comprehensive scientific field, with bionic architecture being one of its branches. In 1983, Y. S. Lebedev published a book titled “Architecture and Bionics” in which several issues in architecture were discussed for which natural systems offered good solutions.
A valuable system in terms of high efficiency and low energy consumption can be found in living organism which can be easily discovered and adapted to architecture .
1- Platonic objects
Research on geometry in nature resulted in creation of five platonic masses. Multi-dimensional objects with
polygon bases which have been described by Plato over 400 years B.C. and later by Euclid. These are the only regular polyhedrons made of identical regular polygons. These platonic objects are: trihedral, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedral.
2- Chaos theory
Chaos theory is the field of study in mathematics that can be described as a kind of randomness with definitiveness. Its definitiveness is due to the fact that irregularity has internal reasons and will not take place as a result of external factors, while randomness is due to irregular and unpredictable behavior.
This theory can be extended to physical, chemical, biological, psychological and social systems. Chaos theory hinges on the principle that some kind of order exists in any chaotic or disorder situation. Thus, one cannot seek order only in one scale of an issue. A phenomenon that seems totally disordered and random at small scale, might be quite predictable if seen from a larger scale .
2.1.7. Certain practical principles of sustainable architecture on the basis of natural patterns
1- Use of renewable energy
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and water to provide the building’s electricity, natural air conditioning and other utilities can be used in the design of a sustainable construction, and, therefore, minimize the use of fossil fuels.
2- Use of environment-friendly materials
In the design based on sustainable architecture, the negative impact of use of non-renewable materials with chemical origin can be minimized with the use of naturally-made and environment-friendly materials.
3- Conformity between the site and the construction
The form and mode of establishment of the building as well as the location of its internal spaces should be in such a way to improve the level of welfare within the building. At the same time, proper insulation of the structure would result in the reduction of fossil fuel consumption.
4- Creation of a recycling procedure and reusing sewage water and rainfall
In the design of many buildings, efforts are made to collect the sewage water as well as rain and snow water to use for certain utility purposes such as plant irrigation .
2.1.8. Biomimetic approach
The biomimetic methods of designing can be generally divided into two groups:
1- Issue-based approach
Identifying a human need or issue and studying what solutions other organisms or ecosystems are utilizing to overcome such issues. In this approach, designing is conducted with a biological attitude.
Identifying a specific feature, behavior or function of an organism or ecosystem and translating it into a humanmade design. This is called biological-impact designing and here we intend to elaborate more on these two approaches:
2- Issue-based designing
The designers’ approach towards nature to resolve the issues. This requires that the designers identify the issues and then the biologists should compare such issues with the organisms that have already resolved similar issues. This approach leads effectively by the designers through identification of early objectives and the design parameters.
In general, the inspiration from nature under issue-based approach can be divided into six phases: designing issues, seeking biological similarities, identifying appropriate rules, abstraction and distinction from the biological model, testing, analysis and feedback, and designing solution.
The DaimlerChrysler bionic car was a typical example of such an approach. To design car with small wheels and big volume, the designers patterned the idea on the boxfish’s features, a fish with unique aerodynamic features.
In addition to form of the car, its body and structure are also designed through biomimetic. Using computer models of a growing tree which reduces concentration of tension, the structure of the car is designed like a skeleton in which the material is dedicated only to the places needed .
3. FINAL DESIGNING
The final design are prepared in accordance with the proposed pattern (Figure 1).
4.1. Need for residential and recreational centers
After several days of work, people need to spend some time for their recreation. Imam Ali (PBUH) is quoted to have spent his leisure time on Fridays outside Medina. Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) had said “travel to remain healthy”.
Recreation is, therefore, recommended by our religious traditions. It should be noted that recreation would cause peace of mind and mental health. It is a natural thing to spend time for recreation which will, in turn, result in several benefits, as follows:
1. Promoting personal talents
2. Paving the way for cultural maturity
3. Promoting personal and social prosperity
4. Increasing life expectancy
5. Mental and physical health
6. Activating individuals and prompting interaction between people from different walks of life
7. Meeting the physiological needs of the users.
4.2. Economic approaches
The main objective of this project is to follow a cultural-social approach with the main objective of reducing mental, and sometimes physical, stresses and disorders. Economic issues are, thus, among the main issues to be considered in the design and construction of architectural projects, especially public buildings and centers.
The difference between such project and similar projects that bear “tourism” title, lies in the business nature of the latter in which economic and financial return plays a significant role. However, it does not mean that our projects do not seek economic objective, but that these projects’ main objective is of cultural and social nature.
Economy is merely one of the three features of such an approach and it is indeed a bionic architecture that has strategically become homogenous with its underlying foundation and seeks its best profit through reduction of energy consumption, which in the long run would return in the form of reduced utility and maintenance costs.
1- Expenditure management and precise construction control
3- Reducing maintenance and utility costs
4- Strengthening indexes defined by Iran’s Tourism Organization
5- Optimum use of underground layers, increasing comfort, reducing the waste of non-renewable resources and, as such, increasing economic efficiency.
Fig. 1. Final design
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