The Art of Ar­chi­tec­ture In­spired by Bi­ol­ogy

Industry Leaders - - Green Revolution -

“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.

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