Biomimicry in Building Architecture

From Theory to Industry-Standard Construction Practice


  • Bryan Martino Dept. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology



biomimicry, biomimetics, sustainable architecture


Biomimicry— design inspired by the functional genius of nature— is a concept becoming more and more prevalent in fields of material science, architecture, and other sciences. Yet, the construction industry does not understand how to build with biomimetic materials, nor understand their biological precedents. Much of this has to do with the familiar use of traditional, high-carbon materials, and lack of collaboration between contractors and biologists. Thus, this study offers a comprehensive exploration of how well biomimetics is translated into the material and structural qualities of buildings. Furthermore, this study aims to provide insight on how to fill the gap between novel technologies and commercial building development. As a result of this effort, architects and engineers will understand how to leverage nature to make buildings more sustainable. In the first part of this document, biomimicry is contextualized and the scope of this investigation is explained. The second part transitions into a detailed exploration of biological models, processes, and their material feasibility in today’s industry. Lastly, this study evaluates evidence from part two to compare how well biomimetic precedents are optimized based on available research. Evidence suggests that a paradigm shift towards system thinking is paramount to the integration of nature’s genius into a sustainable built environment.

Lay Summary

Copying nature's patterns, forms, and processes in new building technology is one way to achieve more efficient material and energy use. However, there are two key obstacles to sustainable building: lack of collaboration between industries, and short-term gain. This investigation explores how we can overcome these obstacles to bring more innovative solutions into the built environment. Key ideas about the green building are discussed, then existing research is explained. In the end, evidence is evaluated to demonstrate the potential for developing natural models in the real world.

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How to Cite

Martino, B. (2023). Biomimicry in Building Architecture: From Theory to Industry-Standard Construction Practice. University of Colorado Honors Journal, 118.



Natural Science