Biomimetic Structures: Arctic Flowers + Formicis Series

Biomimetic Structures Design, UB Department of Architecture Research Project, Architect, Images

Biomimetic Structures : Arctic Flowers and Formicis Series

University at Buffalo Research Project – design by various designers

19 Nov 2012

Biomimetic Structures

Design: Michael James Rogers with students from UB Department of Architecture

Arctic Flowers and Formicis Series

The Arctic Flowers Series and the Formicis Series are two halves of a research project conducted at the University at Buffalo that investigate how new types of hand-built architectures can emerge in societies that are as digitally savvy as they are tied to industrial manufacturing and their ancient traditions of hand-craft.

Biomimetic Structures Arctic Flowers and Formicis Series Biomimetic Structures Arctic Flowers and Formicis Series Biomimetic Structures Arctic Flowers and Formicis Series
images from UB Department of Architecture

These projects link the power of interactive online design tools with the economy of industrial fabrication methods and intuitive hand-assembly to create new architectural component systems that can be designed online, fabricated and shipped from the factory and assembled by individual consumers. Recently shown at Beijing International Design Week 2012, prototypes from both the Arctic Flowers Series as well as the Formicis Series speculated upon the potential of these systems to address the diverse and improvisational needs of the vernacular hutong housing typology.

Both the perforated polypropylene forms of the Arctic Flowers Series as well as the complexly aggregated wooden structures of the Formics Series abstractly mimic processes found in nature.

Through the lens of Robert Le Ricolais, Arctic Flowers examines the radiolarian and transcribes it’s brilliantly sophisticated process of making highly structured and perforated forms into a computer algorithm that can be controlled to design a vast variety of component shapes. Similarly, Formicis focuses upon the way in which ants intuitively attach themselves together, without any instruction or leadership, into incredible ant-bridge structures that span wide chasms and support the load of the colony as it traverses across them. The individual wooden components themselves derive from an abstraction of the anatomy of the ant with particular attention paid to the degrees of freedom each body part possesses and the means by which ants can connect. Then a branching algorithm was written that utilizes these connection capabilities to organize vast amounts of components into undulating surfaces that increase their strength through the crenellation of their form.

The work of Michael James Rogers has been shown at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Venice Biennale, London Festival of Architecture, Nicosia Cyprus, Beijing Design Week, Albright-Knox Art Museum and the Burchfield Penny Art Center among other venues. As an architect and computational researcher his practice explores emergent component-based design systems at many scales. Michael James Rogers currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning in the Department of Architecture.

Seminar: Formicis
Director: Michael Rogers
Students: Dan Vrana, Vincent Ribeiro, Peter Foti
Photography: Paul Hokanson

Seminar: Arctic Flowers
Directors: Michael Rogers with Sean Rassmussen
Students: Alex Galante, Philip Gusmano, Alex Neubauer, Aaron Salva, Joseph Swerdlin, Joseph Tuberdyck
Photographs: Michael Rogers

Biomimetic Structures : Arctic Flowers and Formicis Series images / information from UB Department of Architecture


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




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