Independent Study: Biomimicry

  • Exhibited: Remain Gardens / Ames, IA / May 2013
  • Mentor: James Leach and Kris Nelson
  • Team: Tom C, Dan E, Jake G, and Dan S

Project Brief
The purpose of this project was to identify and research a natural system through its translation into the human-scale. The resulting prototype needed to respond to environmental factors. Emphasis was placed on parametric design tools and digital fabrication.

Project Description
To begin the project, research into plant's stoma systems were conducted. Translating this system involved a series of prototype apertures. Through iterative testing an overall aperture was developed through physical modeling. Simultaneously, a structural, digital model was built as a frame to house the aperture inserts. The form became an hexagonal arch from adapting to the geometry of each aperture, as all of the hexagons are extrude to an attractor point. Ideally these inserts serve as light and wind control, creating a passively responsive structure. The major learning outcomes of the project were the translation of digital to physical, issues of structure, and the benefit of an iterative process.

Interactive Diagram
This diagram (bottom right) was an early study into cellular geometry. Through the process of altering geometric the surrounding cells adapt to the changing condition. Drag the cells to alter the geometry. Use the mousewheel to add and remove cells.