15 August 2009

Natural architecture

In Ayn Rand’s novel, The Fountainhead, Howard Roark struggles against society’s tendency to conform to architectural and design standards of mediocrity as he attempts to break away from predictable patterns and create useful, beautiful buildings in harmony with their surroundings. Mother Nature provides a range of examples of naturally occurring architectural excellence – a perfect blend of form, beauty, simplicity and function. Honey bees, beavers, birds and ants all possess the intrinsic ability to act as architect, engineer and builder.

Mollusks are perhaps my favorite example of architecture in nature. Seashell homes provide shelter for the tender soft-bodied creatures with unimaginable beauty. Each home unique, an example of perfect geometry covered with a splendid range of colors, ridges and enamel-smoothness. Finding the shells empty on the sea shore offers a glimpse into the artifacts of the ocean, an impromptu tour of a secret world; an example of architecture unmatched by human creation.

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