D'Arcy Thompson and the Biological Metaphor

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Gabriel Lipkowitz
Jan 12, 2022 6:02 AM
Linked Student

Biological organisms have many sensors integrated into them to detect changes in their physical environment. We can sense temperature, humidity, smell, see, taste, etc.

Analogies between the FORM of Architecture and the structure of a biological organism are not new, dating back to the work of D'Arcy Thompson in the early 20th Century. More recently, though, we may be seeing more analogies emerge within the realm of FUNCTION. Specifically, in recent years with the advent of smart building technology, architecture is increasingly becoming aware of the complex and critical physical phenomena that occur inside it. Sensing temperature changes to automatically adjust heating and air conditioning to save electricity; sensing occupancy levels to alter lighting; and sensing structural damage through non-destructive structural health monitoring, to name only a few.