Research Overview

Biological systems are often characterized by their robustness, resiliency, and parsimony.

Our research program recognizes three chief mechanisms that are relevant to both biological systems and building systems that promote these characteristics:

  • Regulation – which is fundamental to all organisms and allows them to maintain stability through change via active adjustment to both predictable and unpredictable events.
  • Adaptation – through natural selection results in changes in form and function of the organism to be better suited to its environment.
  • Integration – which occurs at multiple levels and includes how regulatory systems work together (for example regulating body temperature and blood pH) but also extends to the population and community levels to understand how different individuals and species interact.

If these features were inherent – to the extent possible – in buildings and building systems, they would respond more naturally to shifting conditions or expectations and co-exist with living systems more effectively.

BioBuild recognizes that understanding the ways that biological systems interact with the built environment may be necessary for the successful implementation of these features in built systems.

Our program also recognizes striking similarities between built and biological systems as depicted in the figure. 

By focusing our research on the: (1) principles of regulation, adaptation, and integration and (2) analogous relationships of building systems/organ systems, buildings/organisms, and neighborhoods/populations, BioBuild will transform the built environment by incorporating the capacity of biological systems for self-sufficiency and co-existence within our building design and community development paradigm. Consequently, buildings will perform more effectively and be better situated in their natural communities, which will mitigate and deter further environmental degradation.