Design Innovation from Nature

Program Series:

This initiative envisions a new collaboration at UC Berkeley among the Colleges of Environmental Design, Letters and Sciences and Engineering beginning with the Departments of Architecture, Integrative Biology, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Its aim is to support the campus-wide Minor in Design Innovation and to foster the Design at Berkeley initiative. The overarching goal is to strengthen the university's expertise in different scientific areas by establishing a truly interdisciplinary and mutual knowledge exchange between students and faculty.

With this initiative, the organizers also directly respond to the university’s growing interest in biologically inspired structures and systems, which has found first manifestation in courses like (IB32 - Bioinspired Design) and (Studio One 2016-18 - Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication). In these classes, biologists, engineers, and architects investigate natural role models and transfer underlying design principles into new applications, products, and technologies. These courses and research initiatives try to overcome individual disciplinary efforts and aim to establish a dialogue that could enrich UCB’s scientific community and creative culture.

The general theme of this two-year initiative is Design Innovation from Nature and has a special focus on Resilient Design and Construction Principles . With this emphasis, the authors want to investigate how the study of natural and technical systems could inform each other and lead to the development of innovative structures and fabrication methods. On the basis of this research theme is the broader intellectual question what biological inspiration means and how it can be studied systematically in order to integrate it into a widely applicable design methodology.


Prof. Simon Schleicher (Department of Architecture)

Prof. Robert Full (Department of Integrative Biology)

Prof. Ronald Fearing (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)