July 16 – 21, 2018

Skin and Surface – Biomimetic Design und Bauhaus

Petra Gruber

“Biomimetics is the abstraction of good design from nature” (Center of Biomimetics, UK)

Biomimetics is a strategic approach to translate solutions from nature into a technical or artistic context and by these reinterpreting scientific findings in technology and the arts. This is not only about form and aesthetics but primarily about functional connections that should lead to innovation. Functional analogies are the base for the translations in both directions, from solution to application or from problem to solution.
The connection to traditional techniques in craftsmanship are as interesting as the investigation of the potentials of novel design- and production technologies, that create a new formal language. Strategies like biomimicry integrate concepts for sustainable and ecological design. Interdisciplinarity and cooperation from institutions of basic scientific research to production is the base for research and development projects, that shall go beyond the design of prototypes to the introduction of novel products on the market.

The course Skin and Surface – Biomimetic Design and Bauhaus experiments with the innovation method biomimetics in the context of the Bauhaus tradition. In a process of artistic research and based on selected research results from biology a new formal language for specific material and structures is developed.
The theme of the workshop is “Skin and Surface”. Intersections between the inside and the outside of biological organisms on one hand, and built structures, on the other hand, shall be investigated to create sensible analogies that lead to innovative solutions.
The aim of the workshop is the experimental development of models and prototypes with traditional and novel means of production.

Best suited for: Architects, Designers, Artists, Biologists, Modelmakers, Craftspeople

Course languages: English / German

What to bring: Laptop, Drawing materials, Skins, all sorts of modelmaking materials that you would like to work with

Dr. Petra Gruber is an architect with a strong interest in inter- and transdisciplinary design.
Apart from her professional work as an architect she holds a PhD in Biomimetics in Architecture from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria and collaborated as a research fellow at the Centre for Biomimetics at The University of Reading, UK. She taught Biomimetics in Energy Systems at the University of Applied Sciences in Villach, Austria and held lectures and workshops at universities worldwide. As a visiting professor for Architectural Design and Building Science she set up a master program in Advanced Architectural Design at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Her research spans from projects for the European Space Agency on lunar base design informed by folding principles from nature to arts-based research on the translation of growth principles from nature into proto-architectural spatial solutions. Dr. Gruber is based at the Myers School of Arts and the Department of Biology for the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center BRIC.