Alex Mitxelena Etxeberria, Enkarni Gómez Genua


The economical development of industrialized countries is based on consumption of resources and worldwide pollution both unsustainable in the long and in the short term. But this model has entailed global warming, desertification of the planet, etc.

Being aware of this situation and the need of a rapid response (after the Second World War, or even before), environmental movements whose ideals were based on "environmental protection" arose. The question was to keep on growing, living, creating but damaging the environment the least possible. The terms “ecological” and “sustainable” emerged and theories and practices grew up with them.

The term ecological, however, does not necessarily mean sustainable. Sustainability doesn’t only mean not damaging the environment but the possibility of maintaining the productive model in the long term. In principle, sustainability includes ecology by increasing its meaning. That is, what is not sustainable is not ecological. Thus, we could say that ideas of ecology and sustainability are complementary if not synonymous.

Architecture, indeed, being responsible of much of the consumption of resources and pollutant emissions, cannot be left out of this paradigm. Architecture must also be ecological. This is one of the reasons why buildings are cataloged and certified for their degree of sustainability and energy efficiency. It is no longer ethical to turn away from the environment.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a new paradigm emerges: biomimicry. This idea tries to go beyond respect for the environment, imitating the techniques and resources that nature itself offers us as solutions to problems.

This paper presents the way from the paradigm of ecology to the one of biomimicry applied to architecture, and proposes an architecture based on the principles of natural systems, according to a greater respect not only for the environment but also to favor a new balance between human beings and nature, and also among human beings themselves.



Architecture, biomimicry, ecology, natural systems

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