August 05, 2013

Borrowing Architectural Solutions to Climate Change from Nature

Several bio-inspired shelters were developed by students of BioTectonica Research + Design Studio (Spring 2013) at the School of Architecture, Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Such structures were designed in order to improve current island resilient architectures. Puerto Rico’s main hazards are the atmospheric events including strong hurricanes, and several storms causing heavy rainfall, floods, and sea surges. However, the island is also within a highly active seismic zone, thereby increasing the risk of strong earthquakes and tsunamis.

The students from BioTectonica seek from nature different morphologies which provide optimum strategies of adaptation to some of these natural events implications. Structural elasticity was key in order to design architectures resilient to wind gusts and seismic motion. Structural opacity (branching, networking) provides important design lessons to decrease sea surges impacts. Some of the biomimicry-based projects were selected and exhibited at Huracanes y Casa Segura, an annual event that fosters education on resilience and Climate Change effects on the Caribbean.