I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.George Carlin
Whenever I travel, I love seeing the local architecture. It’s one of those things that makes it immediately apparent that you “aren’t in Kansas anymore”. While subtlety is sometimes for the best, it’s incredible to see buildings that were clearly made with so much fun and creativity. That’s what this post is all about.
There’s no shortage of buildings around the world that deserve to be on some sort of architectural wonders list, but I want to focus on those inspired by nature. Some went for a literal translation and others took more creativity liberties, but there’s no doubt all of them are ridiculously fun to look at and I can’t wait to go visit them someday.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Breathtaking is basically the only word that can describe this building. Gaudi’s masterpiece sits in the heart of Barcelona and is still under construction. The design is an ode to nature both inside and out.
Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA
This museum’s centerpiece doesn’t confine itself to the inside of its walls. The moving, wing-like brise-soleil mimics birds’ wings to bring shade to different parts of the building throughout the day. It’s a one-of-a-kind moving tribute to nature that no other museum has matched.
Aldar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has a strong maritime history which inspired this masterpiece. While clams were the inspiration behind the design, the meaning goes much deeper. The spherical shape symbolizes unity, infinity, rationality, and stability.
Center for Disease Control BioLab Building, Taiwan
You guessed it! These buildings were inspired by nautilus shells! It might seem like the connection to nature ends there, but that’s simply not the case. Take a closer look at the detailed design of the shell itself. The interlacing geometric patterns reproduce the 4 symbols attributed to the DNA sequence of the bacteria studied within the building. How cool is that!?
Lotus Temple, India
This gorgeous tribute to nature gets its form from the lotus flower, India’s national flower. The flower itself symbolizes purity of heart and mind, among several other things. The construction also incorporates cultural significance into its design through the number nine. There are 9 sides made up of 27 petals in clusters of 3 as well as 9 doors that open into the temple and 9 pools surrounding the building. This number is revered in Hinduism as a divine number because it represents the end of a cycle in the decimal system. While it is inspired by nature and Hinduism, all are welcome in the temple, no matter your faith.
BIQ Building, Hamburg, Germany
While it might not look particularly impressive at first glance, make sure you take a closer look. This is the first algae-powered building in the world and it’s taken nature-inspired to a whole new level. The panels are home to algae which generate and store energy that can be used for power as well as heating!
Beijing National Stadium, China
This steel structure gained its shape after its designers were inspired by the shapes found in birds’ nests. One of the major thoughts behind the shape and design was nurture. The architects wanted those who competed or were spectators to feel both embraced and nurtured whenever they set foot inside.