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    Credit: Stefan Hester

HOK is aligned with Biomimicry 3.8. How does the alliance work?
At the moment it’s more like we’re friends and we work closely together where we can. We’ve also created a couple of tools and a design process based on our work with them, and that is starting to influence our work.

One of the things they have taught us is looking at place—“genius of place” is the term. You study the flora and fauna at a certain place and how they function [in order to] understand how you might use those strategies in your own solutions.

One thing we did recently that I’m excited about is something called “the genius of the biome.” It resulted from our design leaders saying that we can’t always bring biomimicry to every project on a microscale and wondering if there was a way to create a tool kit we could use. Biomimicry 3.8 suggested looking at the biome scale. I think there are about 18 biomes in the world, which contain climates, flora, and fauna conditions based mostly on your latitude. We looked at the temperate forest biome, which is on the eastern coast of the United States, in northern Europe, and in parts of China. We asked Biomimicry 3.8 how certain problems were solved in this biome.

The thing about biomimicry is that it is about functional solutions. It’s not about how it looks—that’s biomorphic—and that’s a big issue that confuses people. It’s not a bird’s nest that looks like an actual bird’s nest. It’s about how it functions and how can we derive ideas from that functionality. We gave them [Biomimicry 3.8] 15 questions based on the particular biome. They came back with strategies for each question that are biome-specific, and from that we created a tool kit.

On HOK's Alliance with the Biomimicry Guild

Courtesy HOK Network on Youtube.