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Human Impact is an interesting theme. But I'm more interested in the reverse - where nature impacts our designs.
This happens at large scales, best epitomized in the field of industrial ecology, which turns one industry's waste into another's supply. In materials design it has meant looking to nature - wood structure, spider silk, barnacle shells - for more elegant solutions. And for artists and architects nature has long provided a riveting source of inspiration.
Did Gaudi mean for this stairwell in his masterpiece, the Segrada Familia, to take the form of a shell? I'm not sure, but among the wreckage of our impact on nature, the most promising aspect is that implicitly or explicitly, we still look to it for inspiration.
Also by Brendan Baker
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