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Biomimicry

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Biomimicry | Qatar Cactus | Warp and Woof

Qatar Building Plans | image courtesy Aesthetics Architects Go Group

For years, when speaking with K-12 teachers about science, I have linked Genesis 1 to simple designs in creation.  I would ask, “How do human buildings mimic a giraffe, a mountain, or a flower?”  We would discuss the balance of a giraffe on four stable legs, the foundation of a mountain building to a peak, and a flower depending upon roots sunk deep in the soil.  The teachers and I then matched the creational concepts of balance, strength, function, and beauty with The Creator’s creation.  We looked at bee hives, beaver dams, spider webs, and honeycombs comparing them to David Macaulay’s construction books such as Cathedral, Castle, or City.  It is wonderful to see how human buildings copy creational designs.

Kevin, who manages an Indianapolis architectural firm, took my class “Theology of Culture” this past semester.  For one project I asked students to tie biblical themes learned in class with their vocation.  Kevin has been passionate about connecting architecture with the surrounding landscape.  So his presentation introduced us to the concept of biomimicry.  Just like the word suggests, humans mimic biology in their building design.  All of us were fascinated to discover that there is a whole architectural industry built around biomimicry.  Kevin showed us pictures of a cathedral which incorporates plant patterns in its construction.  A planetarium in Spain looks exactly like the human eye.  The Turning Torso Tower in Sweden is built like, well, a turning human torso!  Manufacturers also use biomimicry.  A desert bug actually drinks the water from fog based on how its wingtips catch the H20.  Now builders recreate the bug’s wingtip coating on buildings to gather water from fog.   The Galapagos shark is free of bacteria build up on its skin.  So, Sharklet Technologies uses the shark’s skin design to keep bacteria from clinging to hospital surfaces; it stops infections, saving lives. And to top it all off, Kevin told us that Nike, the athletic shoe company, actually studies the hooves on mountain goats so as to mimic the animal’s ability to climb rocks.

We were all so enthralled by Kevin’s presentation about biomimicry that his conclusion caught us off guard.  Kevin said, [Quote] “Frankly, up until now I have always had a bent toward the tree-hugger, do-gooder side.  Do the right thing, just because it is the right thing.  But now I understand doing ‘the right thing’ is intimately tied to its Creator.  I am a steward of The Creator’s creation and must manage creation well.” [End Quote]  The creational designs of giraffes, mountains, bugs, and sharks are The Creator’s sermons.  The whole world is one big pulpit.  All we have to do is find a creational pew, and listen.

For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.

To be broadcast by Moody Radio, 27 February 2012

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