Form vs. Function

This week has been one of my favorites of the semester, the topics we deal in class were really interesting and we had a guest, Erin Leitch, who explained more about the concept described in class, Biomimicry. I was really inspired by her, the way she presented all the projects she had worked on and how she applies Biomimicry to real objects and building systems. One of the other things that inspired me the most was the fact that she is an architect. It made me open my mind even more, since I am still not sure which path I should follow after graduating from school and I have always been interested in Sustainability in Architecture, so I am really considering learning more about this field, because I think it could be the future and a really useful and innovative tool for new and sustainable construction systems in buildings.

We also discussed a new concept in class related to sustainable practices, Product Service System, which is designed to provide customer with a particular result or function without necessarily having to own or buy the physical product. In the reading by Robin Roy, Sustainable product-service systems, he describes it as designing a system to provide a function. This practice would be a big change in society and its traditional lifestyle, but it would reduce the quantity of materials and energy and, what is even more important, a better disposal after product life. One of the other sustainable goodness is the fact that it is a service, which means that it creates a relationship with the client, so the company could get to know better what the consumer really wants and how they can improve the service that they are providing. However, it hasn’t been proved that is viable enough. The main reasons are because of the consumer acceptance and the efficiency of design people providing a service. Even though, I truly think this social innovation could work, maybe in small scales, but I could still have a great impact in the environment. Practices like car sharing or common use spaces, like laundry rooms, could be easily accepted by consumers because it makes them save money as well. For example, in the city of San Francisco a lot of people use the car sharing system since it is almost impossible to get to the city for work from the outskirts with the car and find a parking spot. When I was there, I met an architect that worked for one of the most important studios in the city, and he told us that he was one of the many people that followed this system to get to the city, even if he had all the facilities to use a car around the city and park.

Furthermore, I wanted to mention that this weekend I went on a hiking trip and I spent a lot of time outside exploring and enjoying nature. It was actually surprising to realize the effect that the Biomimicry talk had on me, because while I was hiking I was observing and analyzing all the nature elements that were around me and trying to find design inspirations and ideas. I actually got inspired by the color palette of the leaves that were on the trail, it was beautiful. So I consider I would be able to see beyond what you see in nature and actually apply it in design ideas that actually are more sustainable and could help the environment. Moreover, it was easy to notice the fact that nature doesn’t waste anything, all the leaves, sticks, rocks or other nature element that were on the ground were being used by trees, animals and soil (C2C).

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