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!_Closed Butterfly Perspective
Biomimicry Design + Build

This independent studio project was created to design passively responsive architecture through the means of biomimetics and parametric design.  Through the research of biomimetic functions, adaptable forms were developed by the use of parametric modeling.  In a proof of concept, an inhabitable prototype was built to test the system at full scale.

The process of engaging in an independent studio involved the creation of a full studio proposal including course structure, schedule, and example content prior to the semester for administrative approval.  This material was created by Daniel Siroky and myself, and this process was overseen by Kris Nelson.  Once approved the project team grew with the addition of Thomas Choi and Jake Groth.  This small group held a diverse set of physical and digital skills.  

After the initial period of biological research and conceptual development, the group divided into members primarily focused on the responsive apertures and parametric structure.  This division was determined personal interest and by the familiarity with Grasshopper scripting.  Thomas and Jake focused on the iterative aperture development, while Daniel Siroky and myself worked on the digitally fabricated structure.  While there was a clear division of labor, the process was collaborative as both sides informed one another’s process leading to the ultimate decision to create a regular hexagonal structure with uniform triangulated apertures.

While the team successfully met the studio goal of a constructing a passively responsive structure at full scale, the process did involve many failures.  Failure is never the goal of project work, but it is valuable for learning outcomes and inherent to iterative design.  The studio was an environment for constructive failure that was more valuable than having everything go according to plan.  This course and its process became the foundation for the inFORM option studio at ISU.

Coral Polyps

These secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect their bodies. The resulting geometry of a single polyps is dependent upon the shape of the adjacent polyps. A geometric precedent.


A pore, found in the epidermis of leaves, stems, and other organs used to control gas exchange. Carbon dioxide enters the plant through these openings and is used in photosynthesis. 

Acorn Barnacles

These are encrusters; they attach themselves permanently to hard substrates within their environment. Their calcite shells are impermeable, and they possess two plates, which they can slide across their aperture when not feeding. 

openings diagram.png
aperture diagrams.01.png

Reduce Structure Depth at Top

+ smaller self weight
+ vertical angle does not require large depth for shading

Taper Structure Base

+ better at distributing compression load
+ increased surface area for ground plan connection

Reduction in Aperture Locations

+ retain majority of cells on south side of structure for solar orientation and sites prevailing winds coming from the south

Soften Edge

+ reduces tunnel effect but is still occupiable
+ reduces construction time, output, and cost

Triangulated Plan

+ provides greater orientation opportunities along outdoor paths such as intersections rather than mid-points only

Centralized Attractor Point

+ if apertures are not installed or if winds are low, a panoramic like view is possible from center of structure

structure sketch.png
Example Section.png
CNC Cut Section.png
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Ames, Iowa


ARCH 404, Academic


Spring 2013, 5/5 Year


Built and Deconstructed


$1,200 (Student Funded)

Project Team

+Thomas Choi

+Dan Eddie

+Jake Groth

+Dan Siroky

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