Monday, October 5, 2009

Biomimicry

Every now and then I click over to the GSD website to read the current news and catch up with the new class offerings ( dreaming that I might one day have the leisure time ( ! ha !) to take another class.

So it was here, on the GSD website -: http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/news/index.html - that I came across a new buzz word : Biomimicry.
I like this new word and can see it creeping into the common day vocabulary of workng landscape designers across North America and beyond.
To breifly describe its meaning : “ Taking inspiration from nature in a sustainable way”.

The first thing that came to mind when contemplating this word was the invention of velcro.
The lore goes that some inventive guy was walking in a wild meadow and noticed how some of the weed seeds naturally stuck to the fur on his dogs coat . Upon closer inspection he discerned how this naturally occurred and invented velcro.
That is basically ‘biomimicry’ at its best. Nature inspired invention.

I have a (potentially) new project coming up where I’d like to use biomimicry on a steeply cut canyon hill side .
My inspiration comes from South America where a variety of plants, many of them epiphytes, are growing on the face of a cliff.

I’ve done this sort of cliff restoration and planting in the past : photo below

From Beach House


*** note to self, must get back to the project site to take follow up photos ! ***

In the future I’d like to install some niches like these :
From Bali

5 comments:

Christine said...

Wow, so much nicer than your traditional retaining wall! Are there other means of support behind the planting? Please share the "after" photos of your project!

Kerry said...

Nice niches. :) Another one you might like, I was at a UF lecture recently and they now prefer to use co-evolutionary instead of symbiotic.

I can see how it could also creep into the vernacular along with biomimicry.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Bio-Huh???

Whatever it is, I love your idea.

Those niches are beyond superb!!

Deviant Deziner, aka Michelle said...

Good afternoon all,
Christine , we used 14 inch long pneumatic pins with a really large washer to secure the erosion control coir blanket to the shear rocky hillside.
Then the blanket was stuffed with modified soil and planted with a variety of fern and other shady woodland plants.
Someday I'll have to dig out the full set of construction and installation photos and do a photo essay because this technique is really quite interesting .

Kerry, I love those niche pockets too.
I came across that scene while walking on a hillside path over looking the terraced rice fields in Bali.

Linda, Howdy.
Bio this and Bio that... I agree !
But in the end some of this new bio stuff is really quite intriguing.

phrago said...

Biomimicry, a new term for an old collection of things: Hardware. Where else can you find more exampless of products mimicing nature, velcro being one of the newest and most brilliant. But lets not forget about all the other nature copy cats, including electrical parts, plumbing, fasteners, adhesives, how about bungi cords!
Anyway, I would love to see what that wall turned into... Please get the pics and Post... Patrick