Cyclic – a Marriage that Works.

I have been studying recently about bio-synergistic design approaches, including biomimicry, bioutilization and biophilia. One of the things that has struck me, and which I am certain I will explore more in-depth and farther afield over the years, is our lack of awareness of the cyclic propensity of the influences. We, for some reason, see this as a one-sided relationship. We are cavalier in saying nature affects us even as we consider these as solely positive influences. We also understand that we affect nature, but that connotation is negative. marriage

But neither is fully true. This is very nearly a depiction of a really bad marriage. One always giving and the other always taking.

We must remember that what goes ’round, comes ’round. We affect nature affects we. For the bad and the good. So we should design not only to accept nature in and build upon the benefits she brings, but to maximize how our building can benefit and beautify nature.

Yes, I said it. We can benefit nature. We can beautify it.  

Frederick Law Olmstead did not create wildness, but he communed with wild places in a way that to this day helps us see them, experience them, and love them. He positively affected nature and us, knowing that over time our presence would help the natural spaces change and grow, if we were conscious of that interaction.

Interaction. Not “action” and then. beat. beat. “response”, but an ever blended flow of interactions.

When we build a building, one hopes that it is well designed and takes into account the effects of the natural systems, and that it benefits from the wind patterns and sun’s rays. We hope the design takes into account the perc of the soils and what amount of rainwater we can count on running from the roof and gathering in cisterns. We intentionally place windows and frame views to help building occupants rest or heal faster. We select materials that are naturally beautiful to connect us to nature.

In an enlightened bio-synergistic design, we will also understand how our building changes wind flows and how we should design those changes for mutual benefit. We recognize how we perhaps block water flow and mediate that truncation by reconnecting the systems in some clever, built, way. We design how our built form and its materials will become not only a backdrop for nature’s beauty, but an integral piece of it or a reflection for its beauty to show more boldly.

That is bio-synergistic design. Cyclic.



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