Joshua Dimasaka
Joshua Dimasaka

Joshua Dimasaka

Jan 15, 2021 6:52 AM

The best example would be the human body. It illustrates the concept of Sir Ove Arup's "total architecture" which reflects the integration of all disciplines to come up with a complete solution. The picture below is from Arup's website that illustrates the idea.

Shear walls and main lateral system can be the spinal chord and large bones found in human body.

Facade materials are like human skin that serves our protection from extreme sunlight and maintains a good amount of humidity and temperature in the interior of the body/building.

During my stay in Arup, I learned about the Neuron, which is a system of sensors that tells how healthy our body/building is? This is very analogous to the nervous system that relates to the field of structural health monitoring.

As structural engineers, we hope to have the regeneration capability of bones. Similarly, in recent years, we have seen that there have been active researches about concrete-healing products to simulate this functionality of bones.

Generally, the idea of comparing biological systems and buildings is a good design philosophy. It is exciting to see in the future how we can apply the resiliency of our biological systems to our buildings as well.


Arup, O. (1970). The key speech. Arup J, 20(1), 34-36.