Taking inspiration from nature: rules and procedures for a good building practice

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review


Since the most ancient times, humans have always exploited natural growth and elements for their building purposes: nature, in general, inspired and taught a number of constructive rules that were historically employed in construction. Some of the numerous arboreal species have represented a matter of fact for the primitive constructions and for the classical architectural styles. Many are the examples of primitive shelters, or even real and proper constructions, made of natural elements and materials assembled in a specific way, that often recall nature in its flourishing development. Classical architecture and decoration, exploited for centuries and sometimes still used in modern or contemporary architecture - are evident examples on how the natural world inspired construction: from lotus or acanthus leaves for capitals or plinths, from trees’ trunks and branches for columns and epistyles, etc. From Roman times, and even with a major emphasis and attention in the modern age, trees’ laws of growth and development enraptured treatisers and philosophers as Giovanni Biagio Amico or John Ruskin, and architects as Jacques-François Blondel or Dominique Perrault in France, Giovan Battista Filippo Basile or Damiani Almeyda in Italy, or, to continue, Pierluigi Nervi, Frank Lloyd Wright or Santiago Calatrava just to mention a more contemporary personalities. Even entire architectural styles were strongly influenced by natural world as the aforementioned classical architecture, the gothics Portuguese Manueline or Sicilian Catalan styles, etc. Still today plants surprise and fascinate experts and laymen for their stately, luxuriant and mighty structure that is often characterized by a complicated interlacement of roots, trunks, and branches now simulating arches, now vaults or pillars and even a complete shelter or a reassuring protection in their thick and tangled reticulated work.Taking motion from natural plants’ growth, with a particular reference to some trees of Ficus magnolioides in Palermo, considered as the largest and oldest in Europe of such a species, we will analyse and compare many structural, architectural and decorative principles and elements adopted in architecture and intended for a good constructive practice. Such a vast and fascinating repertory gives us the basis to a deeper understanding of the architectural design through centuries, from the most primitive times to the most contemporary age and, at the same times, gives us the possibility to be inspired in a more conscious and reliable way during our constructive and architectural process.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)4-17
Numero di pagine14
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016


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