Over the years architecture has been influenced by various factors apart from which era and when it has been established. Various influences that we see are in the way a building has been constructed, i.e. the form of the building, the various structural elements of the building, etc. Nature has been one of the most evident influences in architecture and in various forms over the years.
Since time immemorial nature and the environment has inspired various aspects of our life. The humbleness and the beauty of nature have been one of the most inspirational idea for the humans.
Small dwellings and the pattern of their arrangement have been inspired by nature.
Nature is an integral part of our lives.
Natural forms are not created by a single force or events; nor by the simple co-existence of many parts, it is the interaction of each part to its immediate surrounding that initiates processes.
Architecture is not far behind when it comes to being inspired by nature.
The examples of the same are quite prevalent all over the world, and over the centuries, from the pre-historic times to the present day, architecture and nature go hand-in-hand.
Claude Levi Strauss once quoted
City is a congregation of animals who enclose their biological history within its boundaries and at the same time through their every conscious action mould and shape it.
Ancient Greek Temples (first-century era)
Nature inspired motifs on the Pillars of Ancient Greek Temples
SAGRADA FAMILIA BY GAUDI (18th century era)
Image credit: Flickr/onanickle
Image credit: Flickr/onanickle
Whether on the façade, or the internal columns, Sagrada Famila is one of the finest examples of Architecture heavily inspired from nature.
LOTUS TEMPLE, NEW DELHI (1986)
One of the most peaceful and visited places in the world also inspired as a Building Form and Structure from nature. The inspiration draws from the strength of Lotus petals and it withstanding greatest of forces.
Norman Foster’s Gherkin Tower (2003)
Image credit: Flickr/littoraria
London’s one of the most famous and one of the inspiring modern time Architecture takes its inspiration from Venus Flower Basket Sponge. The Hexagonal skeleton of the building is inspired from this special sponge hosts a lattice-like exoskeleton that appears glassy and glowing in its underwater environment.
In conclusion, architecturally, nature has inspired architects and their buildings in the following ways:
Form and Surface of the Building
Lotus Temple and Gherkin Tower take inspiration from nature by imitating the form, the surface and the structure of the species and that becomes the main visual surface of the built form.
Engravings or Embossing
Ancient Greek Temples have elaborate columns which have frescos, of nature imitating engravings or embossing. Also, Cathedral Sagrada Familia has the façade which has heavily engraved nature inspired frescos on its façade.
In the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi, we see that the inside columns are the tree like, and leaves on the ceiling also act as the roof and also a support system. Tree like supports have developed today and are still in use as a prominent type of supports.
How we interact with nature
Reflective pools of the Lotus Temple and in front of the Taj Mahal are good examples of such an inspiration by nature. How we see our reflection in the sea, how we interact with nature and how it responds, is also depicted in architecture.