What is green building? Eco-friendly buildings and sustainability is not a subject only architects or engineers are familiar with anymore. Alienation from nature resulted as environmental crisis, physical and mental disorders that humanity faces. It brought a high level of consciousness in society. So this concept has emerged from the realization of the consequences of formalist design which is not in harmony with the environment. There are hundreds of publications on this subject but this text covers the simple explanation of the concept and philosophy by introducing its characteristics. Here is some principles that we can evaluate the quality of a green/eco-friendly building:
- Integration between landscape and architecture (Building should be in harmony with the landscape with its scale and the construction material. Material should abide by as it was taken from that area and the building should not dominate the territory with its scale.)
- Environmental analyses (Building should be in harmony the soil, the wind and the solar analyses)
- Preservation of the nature
- Energy efficiency
- Use of recycled materials
- Recycling of buildings (adaptive re-use, renovation of existing)
- Use of fully eco-friendly materials (Material should not contain harmful chemicals or toxic wastes that may release in production process.)
- Low maintenance
- Harvested wood (avoid any other to prevent deforestation)
- Use of technology and innovations (use of smart material)
Sea Ranch Chapel – California
Schlumberger Research Laboratories – Texas
Bonus: Here is a great video of Catherine Mohr about how to design a eco-friendly
I have been doing some readings about jellyfish which several mechanical systems are inspired from. A very interesting point about them was discovered by Christian Sommer, a German marine-biology student who collected a species known as Turritopsis dohrnii and kept his hydrozoans in petri dishes. After several days he noticed that his Turritopsis dohrnii refused to die and appeared to age in reverse, growing younger and younger until it reached its earliest stage of development, at which point it began its life cycle anew. But our focus about jellyfish is the claim that they may be the most energy-efficient animals in the world. Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts discovered that jellyfish swim using a dual-propulsion system that involves two vortices. As the first vortex pinches off, a second vortex forms, spinning in the opposite direction . When the animal relaxes its muscles and opens its bell, the stopping vortex moves up underneath the jellyfish, giving it a secondary push.
This is system that is developed to calculate the efficiency of their swim. To summarize they move maximum with minimum enery thanks to their structural features. By considering their move would work not only in water but also in the air, these findings made me think this performative feature can be implemented into buildings. The first glimpse into my mind was that, it could turn out to be an efficient way to use the the wind. It is all brainstorming. This is the moment that i wish i was also a scientist. So i started to work on a digital model by using the proportions of moon jellyfish since it is the most simple species. The definition has a lot to work on, but besides further reading, i had to get started to build it somehow to understand it better.
P.s. There are bionic jellyfishes has already produced by researchers to use underwater researches with propulsion principle.
Reading: “Out Of Control: The New Biology of the Machines, Social Systems, & the Economic World Kevin Kelly”
The book has published in 1994. It includes many gems for architects that can be easily translated as perfect systems. Here is some of parts of the book that i find salient, stunning and can contribute those who work in the field of Biomimitic Architecture.
Some sentences have been cutted, and some parts are the summaries of some sections of the book.
This book is about the marriage of the “born (all that is nature)” and the “made (all that is humanly constructed)”. By extracting the logical principle of both life and the machines and applying each to the task of building extremely complex systems, engineers are conjuring up the contraptions that are both made and alive.
The realm of the “born” and the realm of the “made” are becoming one. Machines are becoming biological and the biological is becoming engineered. For the world of our own making has become so complicated that we must turn to the world of the born to understand how to manage it. That is, the more mechanical we make our fabricated environment, the more biological it will eventually have to be if it is to work at all times. Our technological future is headed toward a neo-biological civilization.
First we took nature’s materials as food, fibers and shelter. Then we learned how to extract raw materials from its biosphere to create our own new synthetic materials. Now we have reached to a point that we need to take its logic. Clockwork logic (the logic of the machines) will only build simple contraptions. Truly complex systems such as a cell, a meadow, an economy or a brain (natural or artificial) require a rigorous non-technological logic. Today’s science and the knowledge clearly show us, there is no logic except “bio-logic” that can assemble a thinking/self-organizing device or even a workable system of any magnitude. At this point, a question emerges for further development. What should we call that common soul between the organic communities we know as organisms and ecologies, and their manufactured parts of robots, economies and computer circuits?
The meanings of “mechanical” and “life” are both stretching until all complicated things can be perceived as machines and all self-sustaining machines can be perceived as alive. Yet it’s a mystery how much life can be transferred. So far, some of the traits of the living that have successfully been transported to mechanical systems are: self-replication, limited self-repair, self-governance, mild evaluation and partial learning. When the union of the born and the made is complete, our fabrications will learn, adapt, heal themselves and evolve. In this sense, it is also similar to individual development of human in his life path.
Basically we seek for mechanical systems to react and to change once we translate the traits of the living and apply them. The change we look for, can be structured. This is what large complex systems do: they coordinate change. When extremely large systems are built up out of complicated systems, then each system begins to influence and ultimately change the organizations of the other systems. That is if the rules of the game are composed from the bottom up, then it is likely that interacting forces at the bottom level will alter the rules of the game as it progresses. Over the time of the rules for change get changed themselves.
In the light of this knowledge, we can reach to an understanding as; the evolution is about how an entity is changed over time, deeper evolution is about how the rules for changing entities change over time.
At that point it can be questioned that even though a building facilitates structures that produces energy such as solar panels, wind panels, if it is a result of heavy fabrication concludes so much energy consumption and waste materials that cannot be a part of life cycles, would it be an efficient building? Smart systems should be result of a strong and simple concept and it should contain a balance between input energy/material and output energy/material.