“Exploring Bio-Inspired Systems in Architecture” represents a unique opportunity for students to learn in a truly cross-disciplinary environment. It is being co-taught by an architecture professor (Associate Professor Marc Swackhamer) and a plant biology professor (Professor Neil Olszewski). This groundbreaking partnership between the College of Design, the College of Biological Sciences, and the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration at the Weisman Art Museum involves a four month calendar of uniquely combined educational and public activities. These include a final review of student work in the Weisman space, an evolving display of process work at key points in the course, a final exhibition of student projects, installation and exhibition of several pieces by bio-inspired artist, Jason Hackenworth, a showing of the film Second Nature: The Biomimicry Evolution, and a public lecture featuring many of the participants in the exhibition. The work will be curated in the Weisman by Visiting Curator, Matthew Groshek.

“Exploring Bio-Inspired Systems in Architecture” will examine the relationship between our natural and built environments. It will ask the question: what can biological systems teach us about how we design, construct, transport, market, maintain, use, and discard our built inhabitations? Throughout the semester, students will develop in-depth expertise in their chosen biology. Undertaking a process in which design and research organically merge, students will develop projects that perform like, rather than simply look like, biological systems. The course is organized around two hemispheres: the architectural and the biological, or, synthesis / response and research / speculation. Students will regularly oscillate between these hemispheres, allowing research to inform design work, and vice-versa.


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