An Approach to Adaptive Sustainable Facades Inspired by Plants

Nadeen Nour ElDin (1), Amal Abdou (2)
(1) Ph.D. Candidate, Architecture department, Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Egypt, Egypt,
(2) The Former Head of Architecture department, Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, professor of Architecture and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Fine Arts Helwan University, Egypt, Egypt


Nowadays, and under the global warming circumstances we are facing, particularly those resulting from the building sectors, many directions for more sustainable and eco-friendly concepts have emerged. From these sustainability approaches is the “Biomimicry” approach. This approach represents the science of imitating and benefiting from nature’s principles. Nature has provided various strategies to adapt to the surrounding conditions. There are several methodologies and tools developed following the biomimicry approach and taking nature as inspiration. However, difficulties arise in collaborating more than one discipline, which consumes a lot of time and effort, consequently cost. Furthermore, the existing methodologies are still too generic for architects. Therefore, this paper aims at developing a platform that integrates different methodologies, approaches, and tools comprehensively.

In this paper, the focus would be on plant adaptations. A more focus would be on the building’s envelope specifically due to its valuable contribution to the building’s overall energy consumption. The paper seeks to integrate the plant’s adaptive strategies to the building envelope. The motivation is to tackle solutions for the building envelope environmental problems mainly for heat, water air, and light challenges.

Full text article

Generated from XML file


Badarnah, L. (2017). Form follows environment: biomimetic approaches to building envelope design for environmental adaptation. Buildings, 7(2), 40.

Badarnah, L. (2020). Towards the LIVING envelope: biomimetics for building envelope adaptation [Doctoral dissertation]. Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands.

Baumeister, D. (2007). Biomimicry [Presentation]. University of Washington College of Architecture. Seattle, USA. 8 May

Deldin, J. & Schuknecht, M. (2015). The AskNature Database, Biologically Inspired Design: Computational Methods and Tools. In A.K. Goel, D. A. McAdams & R. B. Stone (eds.), Biologically Inspired Design (pp. 17-27).

Ezcurra, E., Mellink, E., Wehncke, E., González, C., Morrison, S., Warren, A., ... & Driessen, P. (2006). Natural history and evolution of the world's deserts. In Global deserts outlook (pp. 1-26). UNEP.

Guo, Q., Dai, E., Han, X., Xie, S., Chao, E., & Chen, Z. (2015). Fast nastic motion of plants and bioinspired structures. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(110), 20150598.

Janine, B. (2002). Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature. Publish Harper Collins, New York.

Knippers, J. (2009). Building & construction as a potential field for the application of modern biomimetic principles. In International Biona Symposium.

Krieg, O. (2004). HygroSkin – Meteorosensitive Pavilion. Institute for Computational Design, University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Mauseth, J. D. (2003). Botany: an introduction to plant biology [2nd Edition]. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Mazzoleni, I. (2013). Architecture follows nature-biomimetic principles for innovative design (Vol. 2). Crc Press.

Nagel, J. K., Nagel, R. L., Stone, R. B., & McAdams, D. A. (2010). Function-based, biologically inspired concept generation. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing: AI EDAM, 24(4), 521-535.

Pohl, J. (2011). Building Science: Concepts and Application. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, 52.

Sartori, J., Pal, U., & Chakrabarti, A. (2010). A methodology for supporting “transfer” in biomimetic design. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing: AI EDAM, 24(4), 483-506.

Schleicher, S. (2015). Bio-inspired compliant mechanisms for architectural design: transferring bending and folding principles of plant leaves to flexible kinetic structures. University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Schleicher, S., Lienhard, J., Knippers, J., Poppinga, S., Masselter, T., & Speck, T. (2011). Bio-inspired kinematics of adaptive shading systems for free form facades. In Proceedings of the IABSE-IASS Symposium, Taller Longer Lighter, London, UK (Vol. 9).

Tero, A., Takagi, S., Saigusa, T., Ito, K., Bebber, D. P., Fricker, M. D., ... & Nakagaki, T. (2010). Rules for biologically inspired adaptive network design. Science, 327(5964), 439-442.

Valk, A. V. D. (2006). The biology of freshwater wetlands. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p.173

Vincent, J. F., Bogatyreva, O., Pahl, A. K., Bogatyrev, N., & Bowyer, A. (2005). Putting biology into TRIZ: a database of biological effects. Creativity and Innovation Management, 14(1), 66-72.

Vincent, J. F., Bogatyreva, O. A., Bogatyrev, N. R., Bowyer, A., & Pahl, A. K. (2006). Biomimetics: its practice and theory. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 3(9), 471-482.

Zari, M. P. (2007, November). Biomimetic approaches to architectural design for increased sustainability. In The SB07 NZ Sustainable Building Conference (pp. 1-10).

Zari, M. P., & Storey, J. B. (2007). An ecosystem based biomimetic theory for a regenerative built environment. In Sustainable Building Conference (Vol. 7). Lisbon, Portugal.


Nadeen Nour ElDin
na[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Amal Abdou
Nour ElDin, N., & Abdou, A. (2020). An Approach to Adaptive Sustainable Facades Inspired by Plants. The Academic Research Community Publication, 4(2), 52–62.

Article Details