A cross-disciplinary design tool for finding inspiration in nature: biomimetic energy efficient building design
Negin Imani achieved her PhD in sustainable architecture from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Having a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Architectural Engineering and an interest in biological science motivated her to pursue interdisciplinary research and to bridge the gap between architecture and biology.
Her contribution to the field of energy-efficient biomimetic building design has involved the development of a comprehensive thermo-bio-architectural framework known as the ThBA for connecting the thermal performance requirements of a building to relevant biological solutions in a systematic way.
To connect building energy performance to the biology side of the framework she also created a visualization component for the energy results, which provides users with the ability to drill-down and narrow the thermal performance results to the specific thermal challenges in a building.
The ThBA was developed by studying biology to find how thermal regulation strategies used by living organisms can be classified and generalised. The proposed ThBA was confirmed and evaluated before it was used for the rest of the research.
The biological part of the ThBA was assessed by biological experts within a focus group session. Having the ThBA confirmed, the research also investigated how the heat transfer principles in buildings can be articulated to be linked to the generalised thermal adaptation strategies in nature. For this, a series of case studies were selected and for each an energy simulation was run to analyse its thermal performance and identify its thermal challenges.
Brenda Vale and Dr Michael Donn
PhD, Architecture /Sustainable Building Design, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Master of Architectural Engineering, IKIU International University, Iran
Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
Ideasroom: Houses that could function like plants
Video: Bringing buildings to life
Video: Could buildings one dat imitate living organisms?
Imani, M., & Vale, B. (2021). The thermo-bio-architectural framework (ThBA): A cross-disciplinary tool for making sustainable building design decisions: CRC press (part of Taylor and Francis), in preparation.
Imani, M., Vale, B. (2020). A Framework for finding inspiration in nature: Biomimetic Energy Efficient Building Design, Energy and Buildings, Volume 225, 15 October 2020, 110296.
Imani, M., Vale, B. (2020). The Development of a Biomimetic Design Tool for Building Energy Efficiency, Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 50.
Imani, M., & Medi, H. (2018). Biomimetic Technology and Nature Inspiration. Naqshejahan- Basic studies and New Technologies of Architecture and Planning, 8(2), 71-79.
Imani, M. (2017). Bio-Inspired Design Approach Analysis: A Case Study of Antoni Gaudi and Santiago Calatrava. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Civil, Environmental, Structural, Construction and Architectural Engineering, 11(8), 1161-1167.
Imani, M., Donn, M., & Balador, Z. (2018). Bio-Inspired Materials versus Conventional Materials: Contribution of Biology to Energy Efficiency of Buildings. In Leticia Myriam Torres Martínez, O. V. Kharissova, & B. I. Kharisov. (Eds.), Handbook of Ecomaterials. Switzerland Springer International Publishing AG.
Balador, Z., Gjerde, M., Isaacs, N., & Imani, M. (2018). Opportunities for Developing Thermal and Acoustic Building Insulations from Agricultural Wastes. In Leticia Myriam Torres Martínez, O. V. Kharissova, & B. I. Kharisov. (Eds.), Handbook of Ecomaterials. Switzerland Springer International Publishing AG.
Imani, M., Sayah, I., Vale, B., & Donn, M. (2019). An Innovative, Hierarchical Energy Performance Data Visualization for Facilitating Recognition of Thermal Issues, CAADRIA 2019, Wellington, New Zealand.
Imani, M., Donn, M., & Vale, B. (2017). Biomimicry as Innovation: a systematic review. Paper presented at the Back to the Future: The Next 50 Years 51st International Conference of the Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA), Wellington, New Zealand.
Imani, M. (2019). Energy Efficiency and Biomimetics, Architectural Science Review newsletter, 5(3), NSW, Australia.
Talks and presentations
Bio-inspired building design: An innovative approach to energy efficient building design, PhD Symposium (Propagate), Victoria University of Wellington, School of architecture, Wellington, 2019.
Living Sustainable Buildings, Sustainability Week (Sustainable Business Network), Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture, Wellington, 2019.
A framework for sustainable building design, Midwinter PhD Postgraduate Research Event at Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture, Wellington, 2018.
Biomimetic Design for Improving Thermal Performance of Buildings, Cross-disciplinary Research Discussion Panel, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Biological Science, Wellington, 2018.
“Bio-inspired office buildings” in “Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series” at Victoria University of Wellington, School of Biological Science, Wellington, 2017.