Performative Biomimicry: Closing Loops in Desert Environments
Humanity is not acting as a symbiotic part of earth's ecology. Since the industrial age, humans have settled on a linear, wasteful cycle of using resources. These unsustainable practices have disrupted the earth’s natural processes and caused imbalances within its ecosystems such as climate change, extreme weather events, and natural resource depletion which threaten the health and longevity of the planet.
Architects have a responsibility to adapt their design thinking for the well being of the people and places affected by these imbalances. Even more so, they have a responsibility to provide closed-loop, adaptive, and regenerative design responses that aid in reversing the damage humans have inflicted on the planet.
Fortunately architects have an invaluable precedent to better understand how to solve these functional problems: biology. The earth has had 3.8 billion years of evolution to create closed-loop, regenerative biological systems even within the harshest planetary conditions. The practice of taking a design challenge and then finding an ecosystem that has already solved the challenge and emulating its behaviors and function is called performative biomimicry. Through the implementation of performative biomimicry, architects can design adaptive and regenerative ecosystems within increasingly harsh environments.
This investigation tests the role that performative biomimicry might play in aiding architectural design in the harsh African Sahel region, the location most threatened by desertification due to increasing global temperatures. Exploring the reversal of desertification towards the return of a lush, restorative ecosystem via biomimetic principles is a key outcome of the exploration.
Ana Filippone attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University where she attained her architecture undergraduate degree. She then transferred to Lawrence Technological University for her Masters Degree. There she focused her studies on performative biomimicry’s ability to inspire and inform regenerative building ecosystems which integrate seamlessly with their natural environment.
While in the thesis program during the Fall of 2021 and Spring of 2022, Ana has worked in close collaboration with a thesis committee consisting of Scott Shall, Sarah Codarin, and Ralph Nelson. Together, they have advanced the investigation further and inspired Ana to implement her findings within her future architectural career.
Beyond academia, Ana is a practicing architect at Mason & Blau where she is currently working towards becoming a licensed architect. She is also passionate about real estate investing and hopes to one day combine her love of architectural design and real estate into one successful business.