’The Evolution of Designs’

1 August 2008

‘The Evolution of Designs – Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts’ by Professor Philip Steadman (UCL Bartlett School) tells the history of the many analogies that have been made between the evolution of organisms and the human production of artefacts, especially buildings.

Evolution of Designs

It examines the effects of these analogies on architectural and design theory and considers how recent biological thinking has relevance for design.

Professor Steadman explained: “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. Biological ideas are prominent in the writings of many modern architects, of whom Le Corbusoer and Frank Llod Wright are just the most famous. Le Corbusier declared biology to be ‘the great new word in architecture and planning’.“

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 1990s, which have made possible a new kind of ‘biomorphic’ architecture through ‘genetic algorithms’ and other programming techniques.

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