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Bionic flowers harvesting fog. The useful use of AI in design

09 of January '24
w skrócie
  1. Gabriela Piasta-Tworek, a Polish architect living in the United States, has won a special mention in the international Biomimicry × AI in Architecture competition for her project Clud Catching Canopy.
  2. The project is a combination of nature inspiration, biomimetics and artificial intelligence, which aims to create a sustainable concept conducive to plant cultivation.
  3. The innovative proposal is based on a system that mimics the movement of plants, allowing water to be harvested in drought-prone areas. The author chose the Atacama Desert in Chile as an example.
  4. The goal of the project is to increase the cultivation of vegetables and grains, by using dew collected at night and providing shade during extreme heat.
  5. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal.

Gabriela Piasta-Tworek, a Polish architect who has lived in the United States for years, received a special mention in the international Biomimicry × AI in Architecture competition. Her proposal is a special system that mimics plant movement to facilitate water harvesting in drought-prone areas. The use of the Clud Catching Canopy is expected to enable crops to grow in difficult conditions. The author cited the Atacama Desert in Chile as an example.

The international Biomimicry × AI in Architecture competition organized by the Never Enough Architecture Foundation was preceded by a free course. The lectures were given by specialists in the field of sustainable architecture and the use of AI in architecture, as well as representatives of the Antonio Gaudi Foundation, who is considered a forerunner of the Biomimicry.

Projekt umożliwia uprawę roślin np. na pustyni

The project makes it possible to grow plants in the desert, for example

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

The challenge of the competition was to explore the possibilities of biomimetic design and artificial intelligence—such a combination where AI would be used in the design process. The result was to be a proposal not only visually interesting, but also reflecting the efficiency and adaptability of nature, contributing to the creation of sustainable architecture and solving contemporary problems. The organizers gave participants design freedom; the result could be residential buildings, apartments, schools, plazas, pavilions, etc. One restriction was that the proposed building should be medium in scale and consist of a maximum of four stories.

The jury for the competition consisted of Bibiana Sciortino (Antonio Gaudi Foundation), Louise Browne (Grimshaw Architects), Pablo Zamorano (Heatherwick), Jennifer Durand (Zaha Hadid Architects), Diego Castro (MONOMO), and Stefan Van Naderpelt. They judged the works on the basis of innovation, the way AI technology was used, the presentation of the idea and sustainable solutions.

Rozsunięte baldachimy zacieniają uprawy w ciągu upałów

Spreading canopies shade crops during hot weather

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

special mention for a Polish architect

From the huge number of submissions, the jury selected fifty finalists—ten received honorable mentions, two projects received special mentions, and three grand prizes were awarded. First Prize went to the Shatarupa project by a team from India consisting of Shubham Dalvi and Mrunmai Patil. You can learn about all the awarded works on the competition website.

Gabriela Piasta-Tworek's proposal received a special mention, and was among the five financially awarded projects.

Clud Catching Canopy combines features such as sustainability, biomimetic functionality and benefits for the development of local communities. The use of AI during the development of the proposal, resulted in graphics that clearly explain the project, said jury member Bibiana Sciortino.

Projekt Cloud Catching Canopy, rysunki techniczne, sposób działania

Cloud Catching Canopy project, technical drawings, how it works

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

How to obtain water from the air?

The author focused on the problem of water and food scarcity in developing regions, especially on nutrient-poor hillsides. Her project is a proposal to introduce a smart, adaptive system, the main goal of which is to increase the cultivation of vegetables and crops, by using dew collected at night and providing shade in extreme heat.

Nocą ekrany łapią mgłę

screens catch the fog at night

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

My project prompts discussion of the possibility of harvesting water from the air and increasing crop efficiency in developing regions, such as among agrarian communities in the Atacama Desert region of Chile. The modular structure is inspired by nature, not only through form, but especially through the intelligent adaptation to external conditions observed among many plant and animal species, the author explains.

Na noc konstrukcja zamyka się, łapiąc mgłę

closed structure

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

biomimetics, what is it?

By observing and trying to understand nature, for example, trees, structures such as termite mounds, we can find many answers to problems related to climate change, among others.

Biomimetics focuses on finding answers in nature to the challenges we face every day. On the paradigm shift from architecture that „fights” against external conditions to architecture that interacts with nature, draws from it, but also gives something from itself," the designer explains.

Projekt Cloud Catching Canopy, w ciągu nocy i dnia

Cloud Catching Canopy, by night and day

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

The Clud Catching Canopy concept mimics plants such as mimosa pudica and oxalis and their nyctinous movements—the ability to close at night and open during the day. Using photovoltaic energy, the canopy, using a hydraulic system, unfolds when sun exposure is high during the day. Shade is then created for the crops housed in the large pots, which also act as the foundation for the entire structure. Meanwhile, during the night, the elements fold down to form a near-vertical screen that effectively catches fog and condenses it directly into a reservoir located in the pot.

Projekt Cloud Catching Canopy otrzymał wyróżnienie specjalne

The Cloud Catching Canopy project received a special mention

© Gabriela Piasta-Tworek

the role of artificial intelligence

I applied AI to the project on various levels. The GPT chat served as a tool for brainstorming—discussing the feasibility of particular solutions, the rationality of ideas, and identifying potential geographic regions with high humidity at night and extremely high temperatures during the day. Visualizations, on the other hand, were created by DALL-E 3 and Midjourney," Gabriela Piasta-Tworek concludes.


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