Materials Mimicking Nature

“Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature,” once said by philosopher Eric Hoffer. This outlook has fueled biomimicry, which advocates nature as a design guide rather than a source for raw materials. Biomimicry has influenced many fields and taken form in areas ranging from metaphorical to manipulative.

One example is the Bloom pavilion in Los Angeles, designed by University of Southern California architecture professor Doris Kim Sung, Assoc. AIA. The Bloom pavilion is  comprised of gleaming panels of thermo­bimetal, a composite skin designed to shape-shift with temperature changes. Made from two types of sheet metal with different thermal expansion coefficients, the laminated sheet curls upwards as one of the metals expands at a faster rate. Although the transformation is unrelated to biology, the result is reminiscent of natural phenomena such as breathing or peeling skin.

In the near future, will we be able to tell the difference between nature and man-made design?

Bloom pavilion 2

Bloom pavilion

Bloom pavilion 1

Time-lapsed imagery of the Bloom pavilion’s therombimetal panels.

Bloom pavilion 3

Detail from the Bloom pavilion’s interior.

Images: Architect magazine

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