Please add to our community thinking by posting a few inspirational analogies of your own between the systems that you typically find in biological organisms and similar systems that we often (or should) find in buildings.
Think creatively about all the systems and features that allow creatures to survive, thrive, and adapt to their environments!.
- Our nervous system has specialized cells called neurons to send signals, or messages, all over our body. These electrical signals travel between your brain, skin, organs, glands and muscles and are responsible for information travelling throughout our body. Likewise, the transportation systems are also similar. Each transportation stations, such as train station, subway station, airports, harbor and so on, are the cell body in neuron cell. Railways, waterway, bridges and airways are like dendrites connecting different cell bodies. Following Fig.1 and Fig.2 are comparison between neuron and Shanghai subway system map.
Figure 1. A neuron. With Dendritic and Cell body or soma.
Figure 2. Shanghai subway system map
- The other analogy in biological system I could think of is porous medium in nature like sponge. In general, the main function of pores is to allow the passage of gases and fluids through the surface. In building system, pores can also be used as HVAC system for air infiltration and temperature control. Moreover, if porous structure is used in building material such as outdoor ground, it can effectively reduce the flooding problem. One interesting example is Shenzhen airport that uses pores for air ventilation system.
Figure 3. A Sponge with pores
Figure 4. Shenzhen airport
- Another example would be the analogy between cocoon shell and building structure. As a biological structural material, it has a hierarchical structure that can provide the optimum protection for silkworm pupae inside. Although cocoon shell is light, it has the strength to protect the inner part very well. This matches with building structure system. For building, we prefer using less or lighter materials to provide stronger support and better protection. Moreover, it provides a large hollow space inside the cocoon shell, which matches with idea of optimizing the capacity and space inside the building. One existing example would be Shenzhen Bay Sports Center Stadium, which its structure mimics the cocoon shell.
Figure 5. Cocoon shell
Figure 6. Shenzhen Bay Sports Center Stadium