If you were excited by the incredible Sahara Forest Project proposal that we told you about earlier this week, then here is your chance to find out more. Schumacher College, situated in the beautiful countryside of south west England, is running a course in October called Biomimicry: New directions in sustainable design. The week long course is being led by four experts in the field of biomimicry, one of whom is Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture, one third of the Sahara Forest Project team. Examples of Biomimicry in Design
The Seawater Greenhouse system, one of two technologies used in the Sahara Forest Project, is a great example of biomimicry in design. It mimics the natural hydrological cycle in order to both humidify the conditions in the greenhouse, therefore reducing the plants' water consumption, and at the same time creating fresh water through condensation. This example of biomimicry shows a clear twofold benefit that normal greenhouse systems do not employ. In its application the Seawater Greenhouse reverses the environmental degradation that many industrial greenhouses are currently creating in arid coastal areas.
Michael Pawlyn, previously of Grimshaw, was one of the lead architects on the iconic Eden Project (pictured above) in the UK, another excellent example of biomimicry in design. The incredibly lightweight biome structures were inspired by both soap bubbles and dragonfly wings to create delicate, but very strong shelters for the various climate regions. Furthermore the design came in at a third of the cost of a conventional approach.
Who will be leading the Course?
These are just a couple of examples of how, as the course brief says, "we can learn from natural processes to create products and buildings that are models of resource efficiency and beauty." Alongside Michael Pawlyn, leading the course will be Julian Vincent, Professor of Biomimetics at the University of Bath, who will focus on materials and structures in biology; Graham Dodd, Director at Ove Arup & Partners, will look at system, composite and structured material strategies with examples of each in nature and in design; Neil Thomas, Director of Atelier One structural engineers, will consider the role of engineering in everyday life and objects and how it can go wrong; Andy Middleton, management consultant and director of TYF EcoSapiens, will look at the role of the design industry within business and society.
How to book a place on the course
This a rare opportunity for all you designers and architects out there to learn from four experts in the field of biomimicry, to take advantage of their knowledge and passion and to find out how to apply principles of biomimicry in your own work. The course will also address the Cradle to Cradle concept developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. These are innovative and dynamic new directions in design that will help create more sustainable products, structures and systems. Demand for the course is high and places are limited. In order to book please contact Schumacher College. The course runs from October 20-24 2008.
This TreeHugger correspondent will have the pleasure of reporting from the course in October to bring you a flavour of the uniqueness of Schumacher College and the fascinating insights into biomimicry in design.
Read more about the course at Schumacher College in Michael Pawlyn's article on Biomimicry in Design
:: Schumacher College
:: Exploration Architecture
:: Atelier One
:: TYC EcoSapiens
More on Biomimicry in Design:
TreeHugger Picks: Biomimicry in Product Design
Video: Janine Benyus on Biomimicry
Hang On Tight: Biomimicry Explained in Lay Terms
New 2-Year Certificate in Biomimicry
Beetle Biomimicry: A New MacBook Coating?
Biomimicry: Namib Beetle teaches Engineers New Tricks
Army and Avocado: Strange Bedfellows for Biomimicry