Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Is There Even One Straight Line in Nature? So Why Design & Build Civilization with Them?

Biomimetic Analysis of Lines in Nature, image mosaic by Wo-Built
Image Mosaic by Wo-Built: Biomimetic Analysis of Lines in Nature
Image Credits: MS Office ClipArt: Close-up of Green Leaf, Close-up of Fire,
"Nature does not proceed in a straight line, it is rather a sprawling development." 
~ Robert Smithson, American sculptor and painter

Suffice it to say, we at Wo-Built and Peapod Life feel Mr. Smithson was onto something. And while his words express nature’s apparent preference for nonlinearity simply enough, his artwork bespeaks the essence of this truism on a scale more befitting of Mother Nature herself. Robert Smithson - Spiral Jetty (Excerpts)
Uploaded by MtCenis on Mar 18, 2009
YouTube Video: Excerpts from the short film “Spiral Jetty,” featuring Robert Smithson’s 1970 earthwork sculpture of the same name. “Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks and water, Spiral Jetty forms a 1,500-foot-long (460 m), 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake.”

This begs the question: what is humanity’s obsession with the straight line? I am not referring to geometry as such. There are countless examinations and discussions of sacred geometry, for instance — the geometry found repeatedly in nature.

I am speaking specifically about the line itself, and that most peculiar and frankly unnatural quality of linearity. Let’s explore this line of thought, shall we?

No matter what our line of work, we line up, draw the line, line dance, hold the line, walk the line, hang-up the line, go down the line, cross the line, end up in the firing line, maybe fall back in-line, often in the line of duty, possibly in the theatre where we learn our lines and worry about sightlines, in the hopes the audience falls for our performance hook line and sinker, so that someday down the line things align for us and looking back we see that somewhere along the line we were thinking along similar lines.

Okay, all cheekiness aside, where does this come from!? I mean, is it simply a question of efficiency? After all, geometry 101 states the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right? And while that may be true in theory, in reality, every “line” in nature eventually leads to its origin (it returns). Even light travels on a curve. So, there is ultimately no distance between any two points in the grand scheme of things (an infinite timeline; or, conversely, if time doesn’t exist at all, but is only an illusion of the intellect).

In that sense, then, efficiency is not one of nature’s cardinal rules of thumb. Humanity is obsessed with efficiency (whose origins can be found in a combination of laziness and greed) and thus linearity. Why is linearity very difficult to find in nature?

Nature is cyclic. Nature is built not on an intellectual theory about the distance between two points, but on the actual foundations of reality — that time and space are illusions of the intellect — and that all points are, in reality, all interconnected. And that in a very practical, meaningful and ultimately scientific way, all interconnectivity between nodes are transient movements and passing interrelationships on the gentle cyclic rhythm of life — points simply expanding and contracting.

The big bang will one day lead to the big crunch and the whole cosmic dance will begin again. That, my friends, is called a circle, a cycle, a wave, an “anything but a straight line.” And so it’s on the experiential knowledge of this objectively observable cosmic wisdom that Wo-Built proceeds with its Peapod Life Building Ecosystems and Technology initiative.

Yes, we take biomimicry this seriously. This is the depth of appreciation for the foundation of nature which must be considered, comprehended and embraced if we are to successfully construct a new building paradigm for the 21st Century — one that has resiliency and sustainability at its core.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: Where Does One Get Good Ideas from for Innovative Design? Organics make List of Best New Restaurant Designs Combining Old and New Technology - The New Paradigm for Building? A New Construction Paradigm for Buildings

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