Biomimicry – designing materials and structures based on biological systems – has long been a fascinating approach used in architecture and design. While biomimicry is becoming increasingly popular, it is time to advance this field beyond aesthetics. By allowing an organisms’ natural chemical reactions and growth to direct the design process, natural processes can work in collaboration with digital fabrication technologies to generate complex and adaptive living structures.
As part of Jon McCormack’s ARC Future Fellowship – whose aim is to reimagine the fundamental processes of creative digital design in physical material – Natalie Alima is fusing biology, material science and robotic fabrication to develop a hybrid between machines and living organisms. By experimenting with a range of digitally fabricated forms, including nutrient scaffolds, host systems and customised 3D extruders, a choreographed sense of control and manipulation can be achieved over the natural organism.