Biomorphic Architecture: 10 Stunning Examples

Biomorphic Architecture bases its shape on human and animal forms, and this type of shape is inspired from mother nature herself.

Nowadays this architecture is becoming increasingly popular due to improvements in technology and construction but it’s been a long time since this “style” started. Bio-organic architecture has its roots in the works of leading figures in the Art Nouveau movement.

There are no straight lines in Nature, just free-forms. This is a building system that affords structural design the ability to disappear into the wilderness so completely that it is not just bio-mimicry but symbiosis.

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1. Orquideorama Botanic Garden

Location: Medellín (Colombia)
Architect: Plan B Arquitectos + JPRCR Arquitectos
Year: 2006
Material: Wood, steel, polycarbonate.
Description: This impressive botanical garden in Medellin was renovated in 2006 by Plan B Architects. The project comes up from the relation between architecture and the living organisms. It doesn’t make a distinction between natural and artificial, on the contrary, it accepts them as a unity that allows architecture to be conceived as a material, spatial, environmental organization that is deeply related to the processes of life. Read more here.

2. Eden Project 

Location: Cornwall (UK)
Architect: Nicholas Grimshaw
Year: 2000
Material: Steel, aluminium, ETFE plastic.
Description: The Eden Project, located in a reclaimed china clay pit, has become world famous for its stunning structure and the wonder of its contents. Inside the two biomes are plants that are collected from many diverse climates and environments. Designing the biomes was an exercise in efficiency, both of space and material. Structurally, each dome is a hex-tri-hex space frame reliant on two layers. Read more here.

3. Spanish Pavilion at Shangai 2010

Location: Shangai (China)
Architect: EMBT
Year: 2010
Material: Steel, wicker.
Description: The Spanish Pavilion for the 2010 World Expo of Shanghai sought to reflect upon the Spanish climate, as well as to recover the extraordinary craft of wickerwork in order to bring it back to life and to reinvent it as a new construction technique. Read more here.

4. Aqua Tower

Location: Chicago (US)
Architect: Gang Studio
Year: 2009
Material: Metals, concrete.
Description: Aqua Tower, completed in 2009, became the tallest building in the United States. This figure will be soon surpassed by Vista Tower, also by Jeanne Gang (see point 6 of this list). Taking inspiration from striated limestone outcropping – a common feature in the Great Lakes region – the façade undulates in and out. Floor slabs across the height tower vary according to use, views and sunlight creating an undulating and sculptural elevation. Read more here.

5. Iidabashi Station

Location: Tokyo (Japan)
Architect: Makoto Sei Watanabe
Year: 2000
Material: Titanium dioxide, glass, steel.
Description: Iidabashi Station, a major interchange railway station, is the first built architectural work in the world generated by a computer program solving required conditions. The structure of the façade and the interior spaces is inspired by living plants. Read more here.

6. Allianz Arena

Location: Munich (Germany)
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Year: 2005
Material: Concrete, Steel, ETFE plastic.
Description: The football stadium was defined by three themes: the presence of the stadium as an illuminated body that can change its appearance and is situated in an open landscape, the procession-like arrival of fans in a landscaped area and the crater-like interior of the stadium itself. Both the shell and the structural skeleton of the stadium are designed throughout to implement these three key concerns. Read more here.

7. Milwaukee Art Museum

Location: Milwaukee (US)
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Year: 2001
Material: Concrete, glass.
Description: The Milwaukee Art Museum, which overlooks Lake Michigan, was partially housed in a building designed in 1957 by Eero Saarinen as a war memorial. From the outset, two lower floors were allocated for use as an art gallery. Calatrava proposed a pavilion-like construction on axis with Wisconsin Avenue, the main street of central Milwaukee. Conceived as an independent entity, the pavilion contrasts to the existing ensemble in both geometry and materials, as a white steel-and-concrete form reminiscent of a ship. Read more here.

8. Selfridges Department Store

Location: Birmingham (UK)
Architect: Future Systems
Year: 2003
Material: Sprayed-concrete, synthetic sealant, aluminum.
Description: The Selfridges Department Store in Birmingham completed in 2003 quickly became a heavily discussed landmark. Its giant, organic, blob-like form is elevated off of the street and skinned with aluminum disks which sit over a blue-coloured backdrop. A tongue-like footbridge exits the bulbous form several levels up and connects to an adjacent parking structure. Read more here.

9. California Academy of Sciences

LocationSan Francisco (United States)
Architect: Renzo Piano
Year: 2008
Material: biodegradable coconut-fibre containers, photovoltaic cells.
Description: Following the widespread destruction of the Academy buildings by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, a consultation for this new building was held. The new building has maintained the same position and orientation as the original, all the functions laid out around a central courtyard, which acts as entrance lobby and pivotal centre to the collections. Read more here.

10. Grin Grin Park

Location: Fukuoka (Japan)
Architect: Toyo Ito
Year: 2005
Material: Sprayed-concrete, aluminum.
Description: Toyo Ito designed GrinGrin Central Park on a manmade island in Hakata Bay in Fukuoka Japan. Three buildings are tucked underground, arranged in a meandering axis. Raised walk-ways wind around botanical gardens and ribbon windows into the softly curved domes. The domed shells sometimes break to give patio shelter and sometimes meet the ground. Skylights layer atop the vegetation with human function space below. Read more here.

If you like architecture that is adaptable to nature check this article on Floating Homes

34 thoughts on “Biomorphic Architecture: 10 Stunning Examples

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      • Hi Virginia. I think Gaudi was not only ahead of his time, but outside of time. No matter how many art styles come and go, Gaudi will be playing with it as an outsider – sympathetically teasing the gothic and modernist, but giving a bold, organic, childlike counterpoint to brutalism. He is applied Dr. Seuss, the Dr. Seuss of real living spaces. There’s no downside for me – what could be better than a world filled with visual wonder 😊. (Full disclosure: I have zero training in architecture or its history – just what I pick up as an interested observer – so don’t blame me if my reference points are idiosyncratic 😊)


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