Architecture's New Relationship with Nature

Blaine Brownell, Marc Swackhamer


     7 × 8.5 in (17.8 × 21.6 cm)
176 pages
175 color illustrations
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781616892722

Despite the ever-growing sophistication of synthetic and digital tools, it's the natural world that captures the imaginations of today's vanguard designers. By looking to nature as a teacher rather than simply as a source for raw materials, pioneers in the emerging biomimicry movement are developing design methods and materials to create intelligent buildings that emulate life itself. In Hypernatural architecture and material experts Blaine Brownell and Marc Swackhamer present an international collection of forty-two case studies that illustrate astonishing new applications possible in this rapidly growing field, from Echoviren, a botanical pavilion that was designed to wilt into its surrounding redwood forest in Northern California, to the MIT Media Lab's Silk Pavilion, constructed by the threads of silkworms as they passed over scaffolding. Together, these projects show that by looking to nature, design can be a tool that makes our built environment more efficient, sustainable, and, most of all, livable.
  • Biomimicry is the fastest-growing movement in architecture and engineering
  • Projects include the Truffle, a small concrete beach house in Spain that used haybales consumed by the family cow in the construction process; the Lithuanian Pavilion, an immersive environment that glows like amber; and the Rain Room, recently on view at MoMA, which allowed inhabitants to enter a downpour without getting a drop of water on them

Blaine Brownell is an associate professor of architecture and the director of the Master of Architecture program at the University of Minnesota and the author of numerous PAPress books, including Material Strategies and the Transmaterial series of sourcebooks.

Marc Swackhamer is the head of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal:

"Where will future architects find inspiration? In their new book Hypernatural, authors Blaine Brownell and Marc Swackhamer of University of Minnesota describe how designers and architects have started to copy nature ... "

The Plain Dealer :

"Some examples are more illustrative and just hint at future possibilities. But others are places where humans around the world live, work and play."

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