Architecture and nature: how architecture can be inspired by natural elements

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Architecture and nature: how architecture can be inspired by natural elements

Nature is often used as a source of inspiration for architecture. Whether it concerns its forms, the extraction and use of its materials, or the incorporation of physical and chemical processes in the technologies used, it is always relevant to seek the relationships between built environment and the natural environment. Of the many ecosystems found on planet Earth, the oceans make up most of the surface and contain stories, mystics, symbols, and shapes that can be referenced in architecture.

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A historical object of deep interest to humanity, the oceans make up approximately 71% of the earth’s surface and 97% of the hydrosphere, covering the largest area of ​​the planet’s surface with regions not yet explored, which was a reason to be portrayed with mysticism and fantasy for centuries. Apart from the fanciful readings about this ecosystem, the oceans are largely responsible for life on earth, being linked to the maintenance of the planet’s temperature and also to the availability of oxygen, wind currents and many other phenomena. nature, in addition to being valued by its natural landscape and relaxing atmosphere.

From the fascination with maritime mysteries to the appreciation of natural landscapes, architects often come across projects that succeed in drawing inspiration for the built environment from this fascination, whether it be its proximity and possibility of contemplation, the derivation of architectural forms, the reproduction of signs or symbols, even from techniques or natural elements present in the projects. Here is a selection inspired by the great oceans:

There are many ways to express your reference in the fields of architecture. If some projects are justified by more subjective or conceptual references, others seek a more direct inspiration in natural elements, as in the case of projects that find their source in the forms of nature. Vertical Ocean by Maaps Architects, the Museum of the Ocean and Surfing by Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Solange Fabião, or even A Voz do Mar by Ressano Garcia, are three projects that start from their proximity to the beaches to reproduce the forms of the oceans in their architecture.

Vertical Ocean / Maaps Architects

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Vertical Ocean / Maaps Architects. Image © Jongoh Kim

Ocean and Surf Museum / Steven Holl Architects + Solange Fabiao

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Ocean and Surf Museum / Steven Holl Architects + Solange Fabiao. Image © Iwan Baan

A voz do Mar Chamber of Sound Installation / Ressano Garcia

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A voz do Mar Chamber of Sound Installation / Ressano Garcia. Image © Ressano García Arquitectos

Others, on the other hand, do not reproduce the object of inspiration exactly, but take advantage of its proximity to ensure its implementation, and of the dynamics of the program, taking into account the accesses and the framing of views, for example, such as the Care House of the Wind Chimneys by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP, the Ocean Beach comfort station by Kevin deFreitas Architects or the Dolphin Sands Studio by Matt Williams Architects.

Wind Chimney Care Home / Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

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Windchimney Care Home / Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. Image © Koji Fujii / TOREAL

Sanitary block Ocean Beach / Kevin de Freitas Architects

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Ocean Beach Comfort Station / Kevin de Freitas Architects. Image © Tim Mantoani

Dolphin Sands Studio / Matt Williams Architects

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Dolphin Sands Studio / Matt Williams Architects. Image © Adam Gibson

Another way to refer to nature is to reproduce specific elements or symbols, in architecture or design. In the case of the oceans, for example, the Ocean Park Marriott Hotel by Aedas, in addition to drawing its shape from the waves of the sea, has also placed aquariums and other decorative and artistic elements referring to the maritime environment, as well as Restaurante NoMad by Lucas Lage Arquitetura, while Musubi House by Craig Steely Architecture is inspired by an object that subjectively refers to the sea: a boat.

Ocean Park Marriott / Aedas Hotel

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Ocean Park Marriott/Aedas Hotel. Image © Kris Provoost

Musubi House / Craig Steely Architecture

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Musubi House / Craig Steely Architecture. Image © Darren Bradley

Restaurante NoMad / Lucas Lage Arquitetura

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NoMad Restaurant / Lucas Lage Arquitetura. Image © Gustavo Xavier

Finally, in addition to formal and aesthetic devices, an important way of designing in harmony with nature is to incorporate technical solutions that take into account the natural dynamics of the place where it is implanted, managing to have a minimal impact on the environment. ‘natural environment. , such as the projects of Punta Colorada III Shelter by TATÚ Arquitectura, The Wandering Walls Bed and Breakfast by XRANGE Architects or Villa La Mediterranee by Stefano Boeri Architetti.

Shelter Punta Colorada III / TATÚ Arquitectura

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Shelter Punta Colorada III / TATÚ Arquitectura. Image © Marcos Guiponi

Bed and Breakfast The Wandering Walls / XRANGE Architects

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Bed and Breakfast The Wandering Walls / XRANGE Architects. Photo © Lorenzo Pierucci

Villa The Mediterranean / Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Villa La Méditerranée / Stefano Boeri Architetti. Image © Carlo Alberto Mari

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