Today designers, manufacturers and industries are seeking to find sustainable solutions to improve design processes and products that will reduce their environmental impacts. However, they often develop architecture in counterproductive ways by investing time and resources into unproven novel solutions. Yet, there are often better solutions, through biomimicry, that identify successful adaptations found in the natural environment and in biology that can serve to better inform design solutions. Through an in depth investigation of biomimicry, several design strategies are identified, and through a selective process, a few select examples are applied to a renovation of an existing headquarters for the New York State Department of Conservation, (NYSDEC), to create a more efficient, and sustainable building. This introduces a problem, commonly found in the existing building stock, that through re-using an existing building the methods to create a better building design are limited by what already exists. In addition to the proposed design continuing to serve as an environmental conservation office, it now also serves as an example of the applications of biomimicry to the re-design of existing buildings. The focus of this thesis suggests uses of biomimicry solutions derived from plants, bacteria, and other organisms through their natural cycles in order to weigh biomimicry as a possible solution to reaching the goals of the “2030 Challenge.” Furthermore, biomimicry solutions for water, wind and solar collection, as well as response to light and waste management are presented throughout the possible solutions derived from cycles and functions found in nature. In addition, more common solutions derived from human intellectual thinking is used to find interior cosmetic, egress, plumbing and daylighting solutions.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Biomimicry; Sustainable architecture; Buildings--Repair and reconstruction
Department, Program, or Center
Dennis A. Andrejko
Button, Thomas, "Biomimicry: A Source for Architectural Innovation in Existing Buildings" (2016). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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