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Biomimicry Excercise Reflection

     The biomimetic excercise that was undertaken during these last 2 weeks was a very challenging task. First, because this was the first time that I began the design process with a focus on the micro scale. Typically, I start from the macro and like an eagle flying high, I circle the site from above and slowly zoom in to the building and then its details last. For that matter, this excercise was somewhat troublesome.

However, it did help to refine my ideas about a biological structure that will be carried on to the next phase of design. I came to narrow my focus to the structure of the DNA Double Helix and was able to extract principles that could be of use in the next phase of design. For example, the idea that the DNA strand is the common building block of all living organisms (human and nature) is a concept that is very appealing to me and that has strong relevance to this project. Moreover, the DNA as a structure is very strong, versatile and has the ability to move in multiple axis (X,Y,Z). Although it can move in all directions, it presents a massive headache in trying to model and resolve the connection details for the structure. This was one of the major issues I ran into while I was building the structural model of the double helix. Although the DNA strand is very strong and versatile, the enclosure for it was also very difficult to design and resolve. A skin that is transformable is a very difficult design problem and at this point, it is probably best to restrain the structure to 1 or 2 axis so that a skin may be easier to obtain. Another option is to make this structure only into a pavillion with the ability to give overhead protection, but not to enclose a space. This space can be the outdoor classroom that connects the users with the river, riparian forest, and views of downtown portland. Also, the roof forms that undulate as a result of twisting and turning become difficult to resolve. This roof skin also has to be very flexible and tranformative like the double helix walls. Although, the curved undulating forms were interesting they were difficult to resolve in physically modeling them.

In reflection, I would like to carry on some of the fundamental principles of the DNA strand – adaptability and transformability. A structure that has the ability to move and trasform is a very appealing way to resolve some issues of energy efficiency. The elevation diagrams show how the roof structure can move and tranform into different forms to increase daylighting levels or heat gains from solar exposure and can alos do the opposite.  It can shade the building while it collects rainwater.