In the deserts of Arizona and Southern California, animals and plants
have adapted over millennia to live optimally in an extreme and harsh
environment without exhaustive energy or water consumption. Through
the process of creating a visitor center in a desert park, a team of
designers have looked to nature to learn ways of how to build in the
extreme heat, cold and dryness of the Mojave Desert and applied that
knowledge to the design of the building.
Learning from nature has a long history stretching back to the inventions
of Leonardo da Vinci and beyond. As scientific understanding and tools
have expanded our understanding of the natural world and the efforts
of Biomimicry have become more sophisticated. Biomimicry now encompasses
studies in the areas of biology and nanotechnology to investigate everything
from interactions at a molecular scale all the way up to organizational
group dynamics. This diversity of study in terms of discipline and scale
makes Biomimicry holistic and more system oriented than more traditional
There is no one formula to make a building sustainable. Depending on
the climatic zone, latitude and elevation, the issues associated with
sustainability; especially in the area of energy, water, and building
materials will vary. Biomimicry is one avenue to learn specific ways
to adopt nature's way of life to our built environment.
In an age of global climate change, learning from plants' and animals'
ability to adapt to the harsh desert environment becomes especially
meaningful. It is imperative that today's designers design sustainably;
reducing resource and energy consumption and the output of harmful global
warming gases. In addition the climate of the deserts of Mojave will
only intensify as global climate change progresses. According to "U.S.
Global Change Research Program" issued by the White House in 2008
Southern California deserts can expect to see: