In the piece, Eric notes that it’s more important than ever for “architects to work with nature, rather than against it. Specifically, by tapping into the potential of biomimicry and biophilic design for sustainable architecture. He believes doing so will help us achieve zero-carbon, healthy, and vibrant buildings for all.
In totality, the piece offers three key strategies designers can implement to better maximize biomimicry’s potential. The full article is available online. Here’s an excerpt:
Seek Out Bio-Based Materials
Manufacturers have ramped up their production of nontoxic, planet-friendly products, and an online product library called mindful MATERIALS has made it easier to find and vet them. Designers can now specify nature-based products such as soy- and hemp-based insulation alongside better-known options like cross-laminated timber.
Freed is particularly excited about bio-based materials that can be engineered to meet specific needs and then grown like crops rather than manufactured with energy-intensive industrial processes. DNA could be manipulated to give bricks special properties—for example, the ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, reflect heat during the summer, or glow at night.
Such bricks may not be available at the local hardware store yet, but they’re more than a sci-fi dream. “We’ve mapped the DNA genome of all of those things, so it is now actually possible we could grow building materials that do the things we need them to do,” Freed says. BioMASON, a North Carolina company that grows bricks using microorganisms—a process inspired by studies of coral—offers a preview of what lies ahead.
“Most materials, when we manufacture them, contribute to the climate crisis,” Freed says. “By growing our materials, we could essentially avoid that—and even reverse it.”