An Interpretation of Bio-X: by Biobuild Alumni Dr. Maria Saxton

Figure 1: Example of Bioinspiration “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.” –Albert Einstein Biology—the study of life—encompasses a huge set of subjects. In recent years, it has led to a mixture of subjects that do not exclusively focus on living systems, but rather inform design decisions within the built environment. Multiple terms have developed to describe the relationship between biology and the built environment: Bioinspiration, biomimicry, biophilia, biointegration, and more. This post will provide a brief overview of these terms and how they can be integrated together. Bioinspiration: Taking inspiration from natural systems to inform the built environment. This process takes an idea from nature and finds ways to improve upon it to benefit the built environment. While more of an abstract process than the other bio-terms, this idea has gained a lot of momentum among designers and architects. Biomimicry: Looking to nature to inform functional features of the built environment. This process is more of a systematic process, with special methodology used. Conceptually, a building is seen as an organism within an ecosystem. Biomimicry poses the question: How does it fit within the larger ecosystem? Biophilia: The process of literally integrating nature into the built environment. This concept is very human-centric in that recent studies have shown the presence of biophilic design and significant impacts on human’s health and wellness. For instance, bringing “the outside in” through windows in a hospital room positively correlates with a patient’s recovery time. In a nutshell, biophilia explores the benefits of nature in the built environment. Biointegration: Many consider the previous terms to be subsets of the concept of biointegration. This concept articulates the relationships between nature, human biology, and the design of the built environment. It provides the framework to reconnect us to the natural world in an environmentally-conscious way. While each term can be compared, the deep essences of each concept overlap in many ways. In an ideal built environment, these concepts can work together towards the development of a successful design. In one way or another, these concepts imitate the 1) form 2) function 3) process and 4) systems of nature. These concepts can work together to provide long-term, sustainable solutions for the built environment. Written by Biobuild Alumni Maria Saxton