Building on the Fly
By Philip Ball
April-June 2010 (Vol. 11, No. 2)
- What are some of the “habitation” needs of termites that are the same as humans, and therefore suggest that termite mounds might be a good source for architectural ideas and inspiration? Conversely, how are the needs of termites and humans different?
- How does the process of natural selection explain how such intricate designs as termite mounds could evolve without conscious thought?
- What do you think it would be like to like in a building modeled on the principles described by the author for termite mounds?
- What are some of the social benefits and limitations of bio-inspired design in human architecture?
Websites for Further Information
- Inhabitat.com: http://inhabitat.com/about/
- Biomimetic-architecture.com: http://biomimetic-architecture.com/
Biomimetic Architecture in the News
- Biomania (Architectural Record, April 2010): http://archrecord.construction.com/community/editorial/archives/1004.asp
- Green building in Harare modeled after termite mound (Inhabitat.com, December 10, 2007): http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/12/10/building-modelled-on-termites-eastgate-centre-in-zimbabwe/
- New, greener version of Ivory Towers proliferates (New York Times, May 27, 2010): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/business/energy-environment/28iht-rbogwall.html
- Aldersey-Williams, H. 2004. Towards biomimetic architecture. Nature Materials 3: 277-279.
- Cole, M.R., M.H. Hansell, and C.J. Seath. 2001. A quantitative study of the physical properties of nest paper in three species of Vespine wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Insectes Sociaux 48:33-39.
- Korb, J. 2004. Thermoregulation and ventilation of termite mounds. Naturwissenschaften 90: 212-219.
- Korb, J., and K.E. Linsenmair. 1999. The architecture of termite mounds: a result of a trade-off between thermoregulation and gas exchange? Behavioral Ecology 10: 312-316.
- Turner, J.S. 2001. On the mound of Macrotermes michaelseni as an organ of respiratory gas exchange. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 74: 798-822.
- Sustainable development
- Sustainable architecture
- Insect architecture
- Paper wasps