Architecture Students Come Third in International Competition.

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A team of BA Architecture students, from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, at the University of Portsmouth have won third place at an international design competition.

Jack Francis, Rebecca Beer, Elina Savvas, and Andrew Waller entered the Ideas Forward, Biomimetic competition, a new movement created by spontaneity, and perpetuated by the need to create sustainability solutions, questioning what does nature have to teach us? Do we need to perceive it better by copying it in search of perfection, or simply understand the rules that govern it? Nature is multidisciplinary and seems to work effortlessly, because it is not designed to be perfect, instead it is functional, non-toxic, adaptable, and alive in form or function.

All living forms present in nature carry mathematical formulas and quantification. The interpretation of these forms can be a great achievement for architecture that, intelligently, should translate them into solutions and needs in a sustainable and functional strategy. Natural examples are biological inspirations of efficiency and aesthetic/functional balance. The way of looking at forms can finally awaken to the simplicity of what more complex exists on the face of the earth: life itself.

The competition challenged participants to create a project inspired by nature, asking them to apply natural systems in the conceptual process of the project, that should be applied in the constructive process, not just in terms of patterns and coatings. Nature had to be used as a solution for the building, inspired by the principles of biomimetics, the challenge was to design a collective housing building.

Participants had to define the population, and number of flats being built, as well as thinking of other spaces such as services, shops, restaurants etc.

The University of Portsmouth participants entitled their project A Living Resilience, and based it around the pinecone, receiving comments from the judges that praised the “very unique concept and solution” as well as the successful interpretation of the need for “adaptable and dynamic structures that can respond to natural conditions”.

One judge said:

“In a more literal way than the two other winners, the project A Living Resilience finds the pinecone and its particular form and natural behaviour the inspirations to design a building capable to protect its own inner spaces from the cold night and assure maximum solar gain during the day. A series of moving scales closes and opens according to the time of day, creating adequate living spaces for its inhabitants in harsh environments – more and more common in an out of balance world’ – Romullo Fontenelle, arq.

Another judge said:

“A Living Resilience is presented in a very skillful way. The design is based on mathematic patterns founds in nature. In this case the Pinecone. Using the Pinecone’s ability to change from open to closed and back again, according to the changing weather, time of day or the changes of season, makes this a believable concept. Last but not least, the design is both sensitive and beautiful” – Gerhard Linder, arq.

To see all runners up and entries, you can visit the Biomimetic webpage, and visit the Ideas Forward Website, and keep updated with future competitions and projects, by following them on Facebook @if.IdeasF0rward, Twitter @if_IdeasForward, and Instagram @if.ideasforward.