How Nature Influences Architecture and Design

Nature has always had an influence of architecture and design, as well as art, music, poetry, literature and all other aspects of culture that has made such a massive imprint on our lives. You might not immediately recognise the impact of nature on the buildings and structures around you, but it is definitely there. As we develop and change into a population that is more aware than ever before of the impact we have had on the environment, we are seeing more examples of nature ingrained in architecture and design. These days you might expect to see the imprint of nature in architecture in a more overt way that symbolises the desire for sustainability and a better use of architecture for the future good of mankind.

Human creativity is a wonderful thing. Just take a look all around you at how city skylines have evolved, how infrastructure has connected us all, and how there are some truly magnificent and beautiful structures that have been designed the world over. As we look at how to change the way we design and build for a more sustainable future, there is a chance to look at nature and see how we can improve things with a nod to mother nature, as we attempt to help her recover.

In some countries you can see sustainability and natural designed as a primary focus of architecture, with biomimicry offering impressive and sustainable structures that we can learn from. Biomimicry looks for sustainable solutions to human challenges. It is used to take patterns that have evolved over time within nature and looks to apply those to human-made structures and designs to help improve nature and levels of sustainability, without diminishing the impact and return of the modern function and requirement of architecture.

Over time, the natural world has had to overcome many different challenges, ranging in size and complexity that the Earth has offered up over millions of years. Plants and animals, bacteria and all other lifeforms have evolved and created ways of being that are complex in their simplicity and allow for robust structures and foundations that have allowed them to flourish. We can take a look at some of these types of structures and apply them to architecture and man-made requirements.

Every design can be found in nature somewhere, that is where inspiration has always come from. You can see nature in architecture everywhere, including:

  • Symmetry – perfect symmetry is a truly beautiful thing, and you can see the inspiration in symmetry in nature (in flowers, starfish and countless other plants and animals) and in our own bodies in the way that humans have designed and built bridges, towers and archways.
  • Spirals – Natural spirals are found in shells and different foliage, and architects often use spirals in designs as they are the lowest energy configurations as well as being pleasing on the eye aesthetically.
  • Spots and Stripes – Ladybirds, zebras and countless other animals have stripes and spots that are gorgeous on the eye and can be used to dazzling effect within the design of certain structures and buildings.

Nature has a way of improving us, and with just these few short examples you can see the impact that nature has had on architecture over the years and will continue to do so as we look for a sustainable future.


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