The Evolution of Designs: Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Evolution of Designs

Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts, 1st Edition

By Philip Steadman


302 pages

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Paperback: 9780415447539
pub: 2008-05-28

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This book tells the history of the many analogies that have been made between the evolution of organisms and the human production of artefacts, especially buildings. It examines the effects of these analogies on architectural and design theory and considers how recent biological thinking has relevance for design.

Architects and designers have looked to biology for inspiration since the early 19th century. They have sought not just to imitate the forms of plants and animals, but to find methods in design analogous to the processes of growth and evolution in nature.

This new revised edition of this classic work adds an extended Afterword covering recent developments such as the introduction of computer methods in design in the 1980s and ‘90s, which have made possible a new kind of ‘biomorphic’ architecture through ‘genetic algorithms’ and other programming techniques.

Table of Contents

Introduction. The Organic Analogy. The Classificatory Analogy: Building Types and Natural Species. The Anatomical Analogy: Engineering Structure and the Animal Skeleton. The Darwinian Analogy: Trial and Error in the Evolution of Organisms and Artefacts. The Evolution of Decoration. Tools as Organs or as Extensions of the Physical Body. How to Speed up Craft Evolution. Design as Process of Growth. Biotechnics: Plants and Animals as Inventors. Hierarchical Strcuture and the Adaptive Process. The Consequences of the Biological Fallacy: Functional Determinism. What Remains of the Analogy? Afterword

About the Author

Philip Steadman is Professor of Urban and Built Form Studies at The Bartlett School (Faculty of the Built Environment), University College London, UK

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / General
ARCHITECTURE / Study & Teaching