Biomimicry of Feathers

Biomimicry of Feathers for Airport Design

A thesis submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of: MASTER of ARCHITECTURE

Biomimicry refers to the work of people who realize that the organic structures or surviving outcomes of nature are not only seemingly beautiful but also durable and who apply them to human inventions by designing with the methods of nature. There are many projects around the world utilizing biomimicry, even from before the term was commonly used. Furthermore, biomimicry is increasingly employed in architecture.

This thesis by Sarah Sunyoung Park, will examine the design of an airport building through biomimicry. Because of a correlation between flights, airplanes, airports, and feathers, she has selected a feather for her biological inspiration. The structural pattern of feathers allows them to sustain their shape and function in flight.

Understanding the principle of this structure, which is based on interlocking systems of hooks (barbicels) with three different hierarchies (rachis, barbs and barbules), allows a plausible formulation for a lightweight long-span structure of an airport by designing a feather-like canopy unit.

The site she has selected for this examination is Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), which is in decline due to decreased demand. Hoping for a revitalization, the airport management plans to combine Concourse A and Concourse B as one compact concourse in 2023 to reduce the waste, maintenance fees, and unnecessary spaces.

Based on these needs from CVG, she propose a new concourse by mimicking a feather’s structure to design an innovative new airport facility.

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