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biomimetic - collective housing
20th edition


What does nature have to teach us?

Do we need to perceive it better by copying it in search of perfection, or simply to understand the rules that govern it?

Nature is multidisciplinary and everything seems to work effortlessly, because it is not designed to be perfect, but functional, non-toxic, adaptable and “alive” in form or function.

Biomimetic is a new movement created by spontaneity and perpetuated by the need to create sustainability solutions.

It is up to the human being to discover the powers and, with the right dose of utopia, to make it the best way to respect the nature of which we are all a part.

Making it happen is the master key of these new doors ahead ...


All living forms present in nature carry mathematical formulas and quantifications.

The interpretation of these forms can be the great achievement for architecture that, intelligently, should translate them into solutions and needs in a sustainable and functional strategy.

Natural examples are biological inspirations of efficiency and aesthetic / functional balance.

The way of looking at forms can finally awaken to the simplicity of what more complex exists on the face of the earth: life itself.



collective housing


In this exercise we propose that nature be your inspiration. It is intended that you apply natural systems in the conceptual process of your project. More than simple patterns or coatings, you must understand these systems and apply them in your constructive process. We want that you see in the nature a solution for this building.

Inspired by the principles of biomimetics, we challenge you to design a collective housing building.


- You must define the population and the number of flats for your building.

- You should think other spaces like services, shops, restaurants or others.

- Localization: not defined

- Areas: not defined


The panel must have a descriptive text of the proposal (English), concept, idea, etc.

Scale – Appropriate to the submitted elements


1st Place

Team: Maël Barbe, Clémentine Huck

City: Clermont-Ferrand

Country: France

2nd Place

Team: Nahid Akram

City: California

Country: United States

3rd Place
Honorable Mentions

Team: Jack Francis, Rebecca Beer,  Elina Savvas, Andrew Waller

City: Portsmouth

Country: United Kingdom

Honorable Mentions

Team: Aleksandr Buzin, Ekaterina Sapina

City: Moscow

Country: Russian Federation

Team: Igor Augusto Almeida, Matheus Pardal, Ricardson Ricardo,Thiago Zati, Carolina Pereira

City: Santos

Country: Brazil

Team: Pedro Feriotti, Bruno Lopes, Gustavo Teixeira, Leonardo Messias

City: São Paulo

Country: Brazil

Team: Luis Mariano, Uriel Patawaran, Justin Wee Eng, Erold Enriquez

City: Makati City

Country: Philippines

Team: Savu Bianca, Tutelca Sonia Cristina, Istrate Andreea

City: Bucuresti

Country: Romania

Team: Caitlin Paridy, Osman Bari

City: Brantford

Country: Canada

Team: Patrycja Czaplinska, Sara Czerwinska, Agnieszka Kotschy

City: Wroclaw

Country: Poland

1st Place - ID0001070 - Team: Maël Barbe, Clémentine Huck; City: Clermont-Ferrand; Country: France

“Perceiving the desert as an environment suitable for human occupation in an increasingly denser world, Ecosystem of Desert finds inspiration in natural behaviors rather than natural forms, taking advantage of how animal and vegetal species deal with harsh conditions to create an auspicious context to human settlement. Cacti, termites and beetles are seen as natural models to, respectively, protecting living spaces from direct sun, providing air circulation and holding humidity - the project thus reflects not their appearances, but instead their processes, that is, the way they adapt to their own surroundings. ” Romullo Fontenelle, arq.

“The project deals with our nowadays Anthropocene era, climate change, and global population increase. Despite the UN prospects of 75% of the population will be living in urban settlements in 2050, the proposal takes advantage of an undesired territory to be colonized: the desert. A potential anchor for a future counterpoint of rural strategical development.

The structure proposed is a wise underground construction inspired in how live can developed strategies to survive in such extreme conditions. The beautiful drawing and poetical expression of the idea confronts with the simplicity of a telluric constructive act expressed in a symbolic object.” Jin Taira, arq.


“The proposal conceptualizes complex natural systems into clear design ideas, to give form to a collective housing oasis in the dessert. By taking into consideration contemporary issues to society such as over population, it successfully analyses and deploys adaptability to inhabited areas. ” Mario Vahos, arq.

“This project addresses a dystopian future where the climate and/or growth of the human population forces us to live in harsh desert conditions.

For such conditions, this entry has found some greats examples from nature in how to cope with overheating, unfertile land and water shortage. The design however needs to be further developed to make this convincing as architecture, even though the presentation is very nice.” Gerhard Linder, arq.

“The 'Ecosystem of Desert' is most creative and innovative design which presents clear solution and direction with very poetic but powerful visual representation. The suggestive section and simple diagrams show how the new ecosystem performs as collective housing.” Chang Kyu Lee, arq.



2nd Place - ID000480 - Team: Nahid Akram; City: California; Country: United States

“Polyp – a symbio-mimetic module creates living spaces in probably one of the most intricate urban contexts in contemporary world: war-torn cities. Taking advantage of the enormous amount of rubble left by the conflicts and finding inspiration in the “mutually beneficial relationship between algae and modern corals”, the project is based on the idea of converting debris into architecture – what in a broader sense refers to cyclical processes found in nature in which living species dye, are transformed into mineral and organic substances, to be combined again into new forms of life in a continuous cycle. ” Romullo Fontenelle, arq.

“The project has a double direction. An inspirational study of polyps and the development of a collective dwelling created of prefab modules. A proper solution to provide shelter for people subject of impact hazards. Despite the interest of both ideas, and the potential benefit to human race, is unclear the impact influence of the polyp in the final formal configuration of the unit module typology or the resultant unit- conglomerate block in patio configuration. Habitat, designed by architect Moshe Safdie in 1967 was considered a potential project for the future, but the path proposed was only partially adopted. Maybe, our critical present will bring again the revival of high-density and compact prefab construction systems.”Jin Taira, arq.

“The proposal provides an innovative solution to the rebuilding of war-torn areas by the use of modular units as shelters and working areas. The reproduction of this rational building unit by the re-use of materials on-site responds to the precarious situation of war, and gives an alternative solution to temporary housing systems. ” Mario Vahos, arq.

““Polyp” addresses one of the imminent global challenges, how to rapid provide shelter and rebuild parts of civilization that has been hit by disaster. Using the symbioses between coral and algae as inspiration for the reuse and remaking of building ruins, is both very creative and sustainable, regardless of the realism. This project also manages to go beyond pure idea, to the design of the single units. This design allows adding parts to the units to adopt to changing needs, thus making the design even more flexible. Finally, all the units add up to a large complex, a building block that has a distinctive expression and architecture which could be a part of the urban fabric. The presentation is precise and beautiful, a contrast to the horrors this concept emerged from. ” Gerhard Linder, arq.

“The modular and recycling system drives this proposal energetic and effective idea to illustrate competition theme, 'Biomimetic'. The reproduction of processing unit not only creates a new image of human habitants, but also allows human survive in nutrient-poor environments.” Chang Kyu Lee, arq.


3rd Place - ID0001110 - Team: Jack Francis, Rebecca Beer, Andrew Waller; City: Portsmouth; Country: United Kingdom

“In a more literal way than the two other winners, the project A Living Resilience finds in the pinecone and its particular form and natural behavior the inspirations to design a building capable to protect its own inner spaces from the cold night and assure maximum solar gain during the day. A series of moving scales closes and opens according to the time of the day, creating adequate living spaces for its inhabitants in harsh environments – more and more common in an out of balance world.” Romullo Fontenelle, arq.

“As the projects before, the proposal, consequently with nowadays global climate change condition, supports the philosophy of intervention in the sensitive concept of resilience. Maybe the most formally biomimetic project of the three awarded ones, structures a collective housing and green tower based in the fibonacci geometry to produce a gigantic pinecone.

The responsive façade solution follows an important direction in current innovative technology construction that has being successfully built in extreme climates as the Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi (Aedas, 2012).” Jin Taira, arq.


“The proposal successfully interprets the need for adaptable and dynamic structures that can respond to natural conditions. 

It studies the Fibonacci sequence and uses the shape of a pinecone as inspiration to the design of a dynamic building structure, which responds and blends with its surroundings. By adapting its shape, it optimizes energy gains and reduces the need for external sources of energy.” Mario Vahos, arq.


“"Organic" suggests the use of Chitin as the main building component. Chitin is a strong biopolymer found in crabs and shellfish. The material is 100% recyclable and given the right tools it could be used for 3D printing. The idea of a crane size 3D printer is seductive. The building design is interesting and shows potential, but need to be further developed. The presentation however is convincing.” Gerhard Linder, arq.

“Interesting Octagonal floor layout and composition. The dynamic mechanism makes the proposal very unique concept and solution which starts from Pinecone and Fibonacci numbers to growth of human life. The 'A Living Resilience' is able to change and adapt through interacting with the environment.” Chang Kyu Lee, arq.

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