25 March 2012

Architecture that mimics the snail

Last weekend I was in Lebanon skiing. I got a little interested in the area, and decided to dig deeper into biomimicry and architecture in the middle east. I came across this proposal by a group of Iranian Students. This proposal actually won a student competition hosted by the Biomimicry Institute earlier this spring. The design takes its inspiration from the snail, which has remarkable qualities that allows it to stay both cool and moist in the most harsh temperatures. The aim of this desert building then was to be self-cooling - just like a snail. 

To mimic the curvature of the snail´s shell, the students created crescent shaped panels that overlap one another. These prevent excess sunlight from penetrating the interior and its off-white color is thought to reflect sunlight. Like the snail, which retreats far into the depths of its shell when the sun blazes, residents of this desert dwelling can escape the heat by tunneling further into the building´s recess. I think this is a fascinating idea. Rather that us always being in complete control of our surroundings, we learn how to cope with them.

Here is a link to the Biomimicry Institute and the student challenge:

by mikaela grassl

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