HOK and Biomimicry Guild Form Alliance

October 1, 2008 · by DesignIntelligence

HOK and the Biomimicry Guild have forged an alliance to encourage linking the natural and built environments. This relationship will support integration of nature’s innovations in the planning and design of buildings, communities, and cities worldwide, according to HOK.

Biomimicry is a science that studies nature’s ideas and imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. The science has inspired numerous commercial products and individual building projects, and the new alliance between the Biomimicry Guild and HOK has the potential to expand its scale and impact dramatically.

“Given the size, breadth, and diversity of HOK’s design practice, our firm can significantly influence the future generation of architecture, planning, and interior design projects around the world,” said HOK President Bill Hellmuth.

The built environment is the most fertile ground for biomimicry, according to Dayna Baumeister, Ph.D., co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild. “Buildings account for about 50 percent of total U.S. energy use, and our greatest collective impact will come from applying biomimicry to the planning and design of buildings, communities and cities -- at every scale and in every region,” she said.

According to HOK Sustainable Design Director Mary Ann Lazarus, “We believe biomimicry will not only help us significantly reduce the environmental impact of our projects but also has the potential to help define a whole new sustainable standard for our profession. Because biomimicry addresses critical environmental issues at the habitat scale, it gives us lessons on how to achieve significant results -- even restorative outcomes -- at all scales.”

HOK and the Biomimicry Guild have collaborated on several projects since 2004, including HOK’s participation in the 2008 “City of the Future” competition, sponsored by The History Channel, to design the city of Atlanta in 2108.

HOK and the Biomimicry Guild are currently working together to integrate biomimicry into the Lavasa hill station community under development near Pune, India, and are exploring potential project collaborations in Saudi Arabia and North America.

“Together with HOK, we are looking at what it means to be a bio-inspired company in the architecture space,” said Biomimicry Guild Co-Founder Janine Benyus. “And I think the answer to that question is really going to be something new in the world. Because making a bio-inspired product is one thing; making a bio-inspired city begins to change the world.”

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