With an area of less than 12,000 km2, Qatar bounced onto the world scene when FIFA announced its decision to award the 2022 World Cup to that country. Because it is exceptionally hot during the summer months, it’s possible and controversial that the festivities will be moved to cooler times. A newly awarded project is similarly bound to get some prickly attention: a cactus-shaped office building. While its Gulf neighbor pursues the tallest buildings, Qatar is aiming for design inspired by nature’s ability to withstand the desert climes.
Designed by Bangkok-based Aesthetics Architects GO Group, the giant cactus will be used as office space for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture’s (MMAA). Directly next to the building is a dome, which will house a botanical garden.
The building has been designed to be energy efficient – a necessary component in an area short on water and facing eventual peak oil – and to mimic, to some extent, a cacti’s “clever” adaptation techniques.
In order to avoid losing water to evaporation during the heat of the day, cacti transpiration occurs at night, long after the sun has set. While the building’s adaptations are somewhat different, it can gauge when its sun shades should be deployed to keep out the sun.
Biomimicry is a dynamic, emergent field in which architecture, design, biology and other sciences intersect to develop buildings, even whole cities, that “mimic” nature’s organic sustainability.
Indeed, in the way a field relies on floods for architecture, good biomimicry thrives on what might otherwise be thought of as adverse environments.
Another example of biomimicry is a water bottle designed after Namibian beetles that usurp the slightest drop of moisture in one of earth’s most inhabitable place. Read our interview with biomimicry expert Melissa Sterry to learn more.
In the meantime, take a peak at these designs: no sense of cost or implementation just yet, but stay tuned.
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