Evolution of housing – N.Slob, S.Mohammadi, R.Geraedts

Onze samenleving en maatschappij zijn constant onderhevig aan verandering. Maar hoe kunnen gebouwen mee veranderen?


‘Perfection means something is complete and stands still and what stands still doesn’t change or evolve and is automatically dead. Everything in the universe changes, evolution implies that the creation is not complete hence the possibility of evolving’ (Osho, 1985). Our society and economy are constantly changing. Hence the demands and wishes of users changes all the time. As now in China, the Netherlands had a quantitative demand in housing after the Second World War with a lot of booming developments. At the moment we face the consequences of these booming developments. The housing supply doesn’t match anymore the changed demand. So if we could do it all over again, we should answer this quantitative demand with a qualitative supply, namely real estate, which carries the capacity to adapt to these constantly changing demands. Such ‘evolving’ buildings should be designed to learn hence being able to adapt to changing conditions, integrate development with growth and evolve to survive like organisms do in a mature ecosystem (Biomimicry Life’s principles circle, 2010). In this way we don’t focus on maximization (most sustainable real estate at deliverance) but on optimization (flexibility offers the capacity to adapt to changes hence becoming more environmental-and userfocused through time). This paper does focus on patterns from nature (for instance evolve to survive) and their possible value in developing real estate. Analysis using TRIZ (a problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature) shows that there is only 12% similarity between biology and technology in the principles, which solutions to problems illustrate, while technology solves problems largely by manipulating usage of energy, biology uses information and structure, two factors largely ignored by technology (Vincent, 2006 – Biomimetics: its practice and theory). Biomimicry is learning from nature as a model, mentor, and measure and then emulating natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable designs (Benyus, 2002 Biomimicry). The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are dealing with: energy, food production, adaptability, climate control, benign chemistry, transportation, collaboration and more. Mimicking these earthsavvy designs can help humans leapfrog to technologies that sip energy, shave material use, reject toxins, and work as a system to create conditions conducive to life (Benyus, 2011 – A Biomimicry Primer). Nature knows a divine matrix of laws, strategies, and principles, which can give us a more clean understanding of the problems we face in our current housing stock and the way nature should solve them. Besides the scientific underpinning, this paper illustrates projects in practice where we currently test this approach in order to revitalize housing on smaller and larger scale. The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure (Biomimicry Institute, 2010). Keywords: Biomimicry, Sustainability, Flexibility, Housing, Revitalization, Patterns from nature.

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