Week 06: Innovation is Happening Outside Our Windows


“We are part of a brilliant planet, and we are surrounded by genius”

-Janine Benyus

Climate change, poverty, unpredictable weather, antibiotic-resistant strains of disease, and the increasing number of cancer cases worldwide are not going to be addressed by sticking to the status quo.

Nature is constantly adapting and reinventing itself to face new problems and survive…so why do we keep relying on fossil fuels and the status quo to power our lifestyles?

Case Study: A Building Powered by Algae

Project: Process Zero: Retrofit Resolution for Federal Building in Downtown LA
Firm: HOK

Image Courtesy of HOK

HOK’s design team took a literal approach to the concept of a “Living Building” when designing this Net Zero retrofit plan. The facade uses energy-producing microalgae to generate 9 percent of the renovated federal building’s power supply. Algae absorbs the sun’s radiation in order to produce lipids for on-site fuel generation. The algal modules also act as shading for the interior office spaces.

HOK has many projects that follow this biomimetic approach. The teams look to Biomimicry icons such as Janine Benyus for inspiration and guidance when applying the concepts.

In 2008, Janine Benyus and Biomimicry 3.8, a bio-inspired innovation company, teamed up to develop a new planning and design methodology called Fully Integrated Thinking. The (FIT™) tool has a biomimetic approach and draws from nature’s proven design solutions.

Here is an awesome TED talk by Benyus


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