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The Fluidity of Nature in Architectural Response

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Annca | Pixabay


Nature is made of a multitude of rhythms, patterns, and cycles, and such relationships drive its dynamic fluidity. One can understand these relationships in nature as the water cycle, nitrogen cycle, and carbon cycles of respiration and photosynthesis. (1) But what do these natural rhythms, patterns, and cycles have to do with environmental design? A lot. You see, as emerging technologies continue to proliferate as they are ubiquitously embedded into everyday environments, architecture and urban design becomes evermore responsive to occupant or citizen interaction. This responsiveness can be seen as a type of personalization, intelligence, and even beauty when it embodies fluidity that parallels the rhythms, patterns, and cycles of nature. For example, if an environment interacts with a patient to help them while healing in a hospital, it can do so in a way that proactively nurtures the healing cycle. This means that the hospital environment is designed to symbiotically adapt to solve for patient needs and goals as it dynamically changes in real-time.

With the continual development of biomimicry that learns from nature to create design solutions, it is important to see the “bigger picture” as well. This is about more than replicating nature’s design exactly as it presents itself. Instead, to embody the fluidity of nature within environmental designs, an even deeper philosophical design awareness is needed. A designer with such an awareness may ask: How can a building “breathe” in and out to help its occupants as they strive to reach their goals? Such an environmental responsiveness becomes true fluidity where interaction is a dynamic conversation, instead of a one-off canned response. By understanding, designing, and experiencing the built environment as a fluidity with which to engage, new opportunities arise to create solutions that mitigate or eliminate the most challenging problems facing our world.


(1) King, Paul. (2018) “The Three Cycles of the Ecosystem”. Sciencing. [Accessed Online: November 24, 2019]





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AI Group Design
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Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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