Parametric Inspiration in Nature

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posted by Chris Chalmers

First off,  her are some photos of plant patterns. They have a clear logic of cellular aggregation that can be recognized in a lot of contemporary digital design. Whether surface subdivision or incremental accretion, the logic seems to be that each element repeats at a slight angle, scale and displacement from the last. Living forms are often thought to be the result of  a “bottom-up” process (each piece created according to local rules) but these examples still yield a regular pattern that could easily have been “top down” in the sense that each piece was arranged according to an over-arching plan or grid.  (not to suggest “intelligent design”! This a blog about architecture, not theology).IMG_0201IMG_0170IMG_0144

Next, the following are photos of rocks found along the bay shore in San Francisco. They are an example of  a pattern created by the  nonlinear process of sedimentation and erosion. Their pattern is free of the gridlike organization shown in the living patterns above, yet suggests a decipherable logic that could prove applicable to an algorithmic process. Notice the heirarchy of cells:  groups of similar size and shape organized by the layers of harder rock. IMG_0212IMG_0214IMG_0211IMG_0213

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