Bioinspiration & Sustainable Design

 In News & Insights

Sustainable Design – Setting A New Standard

Sustainable design has presented the world of architecture with a challenge, mission, and – some would argue – a new standard. Green architecture has seen a surge of popularity in recent years. The design strategy is largely focused on three main points:

  • Increasing energy efficiency.
  • Reducing costs/resources used in heating and cooling.
  • Utilizing sustainable materials.



So How Is This Done?

Architects are turning to science to achieve elegant, sustainable designs. Most green design draws from one of two principles:

Bioinspiration: This is the practice of turning to biological processes and structures to make informed decisions in sustainable design. This is the principle behind shaping airplane wings like bird wings.

Biomimicry: This is the process of taking a design observed in nature and repurposing it for human use. This is why Velcro clings to surfaces like a burr.

Sustainable Design In Action

30 St. Mary Axe, better known as “The Gherkin”, was designed by Norman Foster and is a shining example of inspired sustainable design. The Gherkin towers 40 stories above London’s financial district and provides office space to many of its workers.


The building’s unusual shape was inspired by the Venus flower basket sponge. The Gherkin uses spiraling light wells and windows which open and close automatically to direct the flow of light and air. Maximizing natural ventilation and lighting saves the building up to 40% per year in energy costs.


Solar rays are trapped in large quantities using a glaze which coats the exterior glass. The Gherkin’s design also allows for heating and cooling shafts to be distributed throughout the building. This promotes the circulation of air to reduce the cost of heating/air conditioning.


Sustainable design, as demonstrated by The Gherkin, can translate to “saving green” in more ways than one. This style of architecture is far beyond being considered a fad and is definitely an option worth looking into. Submit an inquiry today for more information on sustainable design from Neri Architects.

Recent Posts
An example of storage which utilizes vertical space.