Rouse Award: Jemima Fung’s innovative biomimicry-inspired architecture
Jemima Fung (Upper Sixth) designed and created an example of eco-friendly architecture inspired by nature to win the Rouse Artefact Award.
Her project looked into how biomimicry could be used in the design of buildings to improve their sustainability.
With plans to study architecture at university, Jemima was intrigued by the idea of taking the way nature functions and bringing it into building design.
She said: “I’m really interested in biomimicry as a field. I’d heard a lot about it from an engineering point of view, so I thought it would be interesting to look at it from an architectural perspective.
“Nature has had millions of years to evolve so if you apply that to design, you can create the most sustainable solutions.”
Jemima researched examples of different architecture projects that had taken biomimicry on board, such as pioneering architect Michael Pawlyn’s Abalone House design, based on the structure of mollusc shells which take their strength from their shape, before developing her own work.
She said: “I looked at projects that focused particularly on material-efficient architecture and energy efficiency and developed lots of ideas into a single design.
“I imagined it would be used as an office, maybe by an architecture firm interested in biomimicry because then it would be demonstrating the potential of this type of architecture.”
Jemima also designed windows based on the iris of an eye, opening and closing in response to light to reduce energy waste within the building, an idea inspired by the responsive façade of the Institute du Monde Arabe in Paris.
After making initial sketches, she used computer-aided design software for her work and created a cardboard prototype before 3D-printing much of her finished model.
She also programmed a motor to react to the external environment to demonstrate how the windows could work.
Jemima was delighted to win the Rouse Award and said she had found it a fulfilling experience.
“I find the whole area of biomimicry so fascinating, so it was really fun to research it and then create something,” she said.
“It’s helped me develop my understanding of that field more, as well as architecture in general.”