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By Philip Steadman

This book tells the historical past of the various analogies which were made among the evolution of organisms and the human construction of artefacts, particularly structures. It examines the results of those analogies on architectural and layout thought and considers how contemporary organic considering has relevance for design.

Architects and architects have appeared to biology for idea because the early 19th century. they've got sought not only to mimic the kinds of vegetation and animals, yet to discover tools in layout analogous to the strategies of development and evolution in nature.

This new revised version of this vintage paintings provides a longer Afterword overlaying contemporary advancements resembling the advent of desktop equipment in layout within the Eighties and ‘90s, that have made attainable a brand new type of ‘biomorphic’ structure via ‘genetic algorithms’ and different programming strategies.

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Extra info for The Evolution of Designs: Biological Analogy in Architecture and the Applied Arts

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15 The secular programme of the Encyclopédie, with its elaborate and detailed descriptions and classifications of the variety of manufactures and industrial processes, was influential on this change of attitude. And the revolutionary French architects, such as Ledoux, had been 26 The classificatory analogy attempting to develop a vocabulary of suitably revolutionary forms intended to respond to these emerging practical, as well as some more Utopian, social demands. Now it would be wrong to try to force the argument that any very strong or deliberate analogy of classification is to be found from natural history in architectural theory at this period.

But even if the idea now appears as a theoretical fiction, it was in Cuvier’s work very far from being an unfruitful or unhelpful one, focussing attention as it did on the functional organisation of bodily structures and the intimate relationship of creatures and plants to their surrounding environments. As corollaries of the ‘conditions of existence’, there followed Cuvier’s two famous anatomical rules, the ‘correlation of parts’, and the ‘subordination of characters’. By the ‘correlation of parts’ Cuvier meant the necessary functional interdependence between the various organs or systems of the body.

13 Now, in the view of Naturphilosophie, an abstract geometrical science might be forthcoming which would unify the phenomena of crystal and plant form and show them to be based on identical fundamental principles. Goethe was an enthusiastic amateur mineralogist as well as botanist. An entry in his diary to the effect of ‘architecture . . being like mineralogy, botany and zoology’ indicates his conviction that all these subjects were governed by general and universal laws of spatial structure.

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