October 19th 2017 to May 6th 2018

The topic

The field of biomimetics represents one of the most intriguing combinations of basic scientific research and practical applications. The analyses of biological constructions and subsequent transfer into technical systems open up numerous possibilities of striking innovative solutions. The practical potential of biomimetics in architecture has been demonstrated by various examples, such as those applying the principles of the water-repellent surfaces of lotus leaves or solar panel effects derived from studying the fur and skin of polar bears.

The special exhibition „baubionik – biologie beflügelt architektur“ follows new paths. Instead of focusing on well-known examples, the emphasis of this exhibition is on current, ongoing research: The exhibition displays results of the special research programme ”Biological Design and Integrative Structures – Analysis, Simulation and Implementation in Architecture (www.trr141.de)“ and is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The overarching aim  of this research programme is to develop sustainable and energy-efficient architectural solutions which are also aesthetically pleasing.

The different modules of the project are based on a variety of biological structures and processes which serve as role models. Some examples:

  • How are the plates of sea urchin skeletons connected to one another? Sea urchins possess explicit strategies for innovative shell constructions based on interconnecting single plates.
  • Modular conducting systems of plants and jointless mouthparts of insects show excellent and new technical potential.
  • Dampening and insulation are essential topics for sustainable buildings. How can pomelo fruit skins and sea urchin spines serve as role models for technical solutions?
  • The processes of the opening of flowers and the mechanisms of carnivorous plant traps inspire innovative and aesthetically attractive shadowing systems.
  • Concrete is a widely used building material. Is it possible to construct porous yet mechanically stable concrete following the principles of biological structures?
  • Snails produce their shells by an ingenious 3-D printing mechanism. Is it possible to generate individual architectural components in a similar manner?

Behind these special topics, several general questions emerge:

  • Biological structures are often small-scaled. How can innovative results derived from these small scaled structures be translated into full-scale architectural designs?
  • Biological solutions do not arise by directed planning, but by undirected evolution. Can we also learn from evolutionary processes to discover new and unexpected architectural solutions?

The exhibition

„Public understanding of science“: This extensive exhibition, with around 600 m² floor space displays new research topics, aims and visions. The central message is to develop new solutions for sustainable and attractive architecture. The successful transfer from biological role models to architectural solutions does not proceed by simply copying nature, but represents a complex, lengthy process.

More details (in German)