School of Architecture College of Design



Workshop Summary

The philosopher Eric Hopper once said, "Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature.” This outlook parallels historic attitudes toward the relationship of the made versus the born. The contrasting view—that nature is the source of creativity—is now gaining strength. Biomimicry, which advocates nature as a design mentor rather than a source for raw materials, has influenced many fields and taken form in strategies ranging from metaphorical to manipulative. Recent architectural examples include Arup's SolarLeaf, Achim Menges' Hygroscopic pavilion, Hulsen and Schwabe's Xylinum Cones, and MIT’s Silk Pavilion.


One tactic in which nonbiological materials and operations emulate biomimetic behaviors is exemplified by homeostatic architecture, which self‐regulates to maintain a constant internal state. Another approach is biodesign, or bioengineering, which writer William Myers describes as the engaged manipulation of living matter. In this catalyst workshop, students will have the opportunity to pursue one of these approaches to create novel design applications based on biological organisms. In creating physical mock‐ups of bio‐based facade systems and drawings of their internal logics, students will discover the roles living materials can play in the conceptualization and construction of architecture, including their advantages and limitations.


Workshop blog


Doris Kim Sung 

Assistant Professor, USC Architecture

Principal, DOSU Studio Architecture



After receiving her B.A. at Princeton University and M.Arch. at Columbia University, Doris Sung worked in various offices in cities across the U.S. before arriving in Los Angeles in 2001. She developed her research focus while teaching at University of Southern California (USC), the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), University of Colorado and the Catholic University of America. In 1999, she opened her office, dO|Su Studio Architecture, and soon received many AIA and ASID awards for her work, including the prestigious accolades of AIA Young-Designer-of-the-Year, ACSA Faculty Design Award, R+D Honorable Mention from Architect Magazine and [next idea] award from ARS Electronica. Currently, she is working on developing smart thermobimetals and other shape-memory alloys, unfamiliar materials to architecture, as new materials for the “third” skin (the first is human flesh, the second clothing and the third architecture). Its ability to curl when heated allows the building skin to respond for purposes of sun-shading, self-ventilating, shape-changing and structure-prestressing. Her work has been funded by the national AIA Upjohn Initiative, Arnold W. Brunner Grant, Graham Foundation Grant, Architectural Guild Award and USC ASHSS and URAP Awards.



Faculty Instructor

Blaine Brownell, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Professor, UMN School of Architecture


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