In the same school of thought as biophilia, biomimcry (from bios meaning life and mimesis meaning to imitate) is a new science that studies nature, its models, systems, processes and elements and then imitates or takes creative inspiration form them to solve human problems sustainably (Benyus, 1997).
Biomimicry provides an approach to look at the attributes of nature and natural systems and tries to understand it. Through greater understanding, biomimicry argues, we can learn how to ‘do’ like nature does. For example, nature has been first to find ways to survive in extremely hot or cold locations and to self regulate. By looking at nature, these natural techniques can be adopted by humans.
Biomimcry requires biologists at the design table to help define the function and build the bridge between the biologist and the designer. Integrating nature into architecture can be done in several ways
- Nature as model: Building as organism
- Nature as measure: Regenerative, closed loop systems
- Nature as mentor: take inspiration from ecosystems
Biomimicry addressed the increasing issue of nature-deficit disorder (Louv, 2005) where people are becoming more and more disconnected with nature. Connecting people to nature, encouraging people to get outside and to learn from nature is key to human health and wellbeing. For tens of thousands of years of human history, children have spent most of their lives outside.. There have to be profound impacts on emotional, physical and spiritual health when that changes” (Louv, 2005)
Inspired by the form of a native orchid leaf, the new state-of-the-art Visitor Centre creates a landmark facility that re-connects people to the environmental issues of the 21st Century including water and energy conservation, topics of re-use and recycling, the aesthetic value of our native plant ecology, further concepts in sustainable building and design. The project is designed to exceed LEED Platinum, and is registered for the Cascadia Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) 2.0.
Landscape Architects: Sharp & Diamond Landscape Architecture Inc. in collaboration with Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Landscape Architect
Project name: VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Design Firm: Sharp & Diamond Landscape Architecture Inc
Client: VanDusen Botanical Garden
Area: Visitor Centre and Site Restoration – 4.2 acres
Roof area: Living Roof – 1,486m2; Blue Roof – 371m2
Budget: $21.9 million CAD
Sustainability target: Leed-NC® Platinum, Living Building Challenge 2.1