The Art of Architecture Inspired by Biology
“Merely by focusing on the effort of transforming mechanical systems into a more efficient prospect, we cannot do netzero energy,” says Doris Kim Sung, biologist-turned-architect who sports a pixie cut with a radiant smile to match, and prefers dressing up head to toe, where the color black dominates from her scarf to her Chanel boots. You could either start with creating better sensors to construct a smart building. Or you could take a hint from Sung, who drew from a scientific background to create more eco-friendly and a smarter alternative. The choice is yours. The alternative hangs around extravagant, dynamic, and breathable exteriors of a building, which can efficiently regulate the building’s temperature. The regulation, though, takes place in a way how human skin regulates the temperature of the body - requiring no controls or switches and consuming zero net energy.
Further, Kim Sung, principal of do|su Studio Architecture and University of Southern California’s assistant professor, continues, “What I propose is that our building skins should be more similar to human skin, and by doing so can be much more dynamic and responsive.”
The biologist-turned-architect thinks buildings are quite lame. And, adding more to the misery, she feels they’ve only gotten lamest over the years. Buildings in previous times had insulating, thick walls with small windows, which restrained the heat passing between the exterior and interior, maintaining a convenient temperature. But the remarkable invention in the 1930s - plate glass, allowed massive floorto-ceiling windows that eventually lead to a hefty reliance on giant, energy-guzzling heating, and airconditioning systems.
So moving against the traditional concept, Sung constructs windows, walls, and building components with metals, which curl when heated, or thermobimetals. These materials have never been used in architecture before. Kim Sung has so far designed a thermobimetals sunshade, a window panel having an inner layer made of thermobimetals, which responds to sunlight, and walls having vents made of thermobimetals. These components are indeed inspired by the breathing system of a grasshopper.