Biomimetic architecture has been making waves for some time. The latest stunning addition to the ranks is the One Ocean Pavilion at EXPO 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea, designed by the Austrian architects Soma. The pavilion is a homage to the ocean and marine life and its most dramatic feature is the gill-like array along the facade. These are flexible elements that buckle under compression to create the gill-effect. They are not merely decorative: they open or close to regulate both ventilation and light. The buckling mechanism is a classic out of the D’Arcy Thompson bioinspirational handbook. Forms created under such physical forces take up beautiful “graded forms” as D’Arcy Thompson called them. As the degree of flexure varies along the facade a pleasing serried cascade effect is achieved. I guess the facade could do a Mexican wave if you so programmed it. The pavilion opens today if you’re in striking distance of it.
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I'm a writer whose interests include the biological revolution happening now, the relationship between art and science, jazz, and the state of the planet