Biomimetic Auditorium Design Inspired by Seashells

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate Professor, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


Nature has developed materials, objects and processes that function from the macro scale to the nano scale. The understanding of the functions provided by objects and processes found in nature can guide us to imitate and produce appropriate architectural forms. Biomimicry is a science that derives inspiration for solutions to human problems through the study of natural designs, systems and processes. In consideration of the global trend of environmental protection, the disciplinary focal point also tends to work on the issue of sustainable development. However, though the researches of sustainable design and green design have been increased, the subjects of these researches yet were mostly undertaken from the aspects of material, structure and form; and the application of ‘bionics’ to architecture or design seems to be treated as a new, contemporary idea. The attraction of Biomimetics for architects is that it raises the prospect of closer integration of form, material, construction, process and function with regard to a holistic building design. It promises to yield new means by which buildings respond to, and interact with, their users means more subtle and more satisfying than present mechanical systems. The appeal of biomimetics is not only from a method for acquiring abstract design ideas from nature but also from the manner in which nature utilizes those ideas. Nature has adapted the plans from which it derives organisms to be based on a relatively simple set of instructions. Common to both natural and man made environments is the issue of cost. There is always an issue of how much an object, structure, or organism will cost to design, manufacture, construct, maintain and ultimately recycle. In an architectural sense this can be reduced to a monetary cost where often times the lowest tender wins. In the natural world the cost is energy, where competition for available resources favors the organism that can survive and grow with the least amount of required materials and energy expenditure. This project selects nature as model in the design of the auditorium acoustics. Bivalves are often the most common seashells that wash up on large sandy beaches or in sheltered lagoons. The goal of this paper was to design a biomimetic multipurpose auditorium inspired by seashells that would have appropriate acoustics for a variety of purposes, specifically conferences, lectures, movies and orchestra. The objective of this research is to investigate the relationship between room shapes and speech intelligibility in auditorium acoustics. Three different auditoriums shapes; seashell, fan and rectangular with the same RT and volume were modeled in Rhino and the models were then exported to EASE acoustic analysis software. The comparison of STI values estimated from EASE indicated that the seashell shaped room had the highest mean STI values. The comparison of C50 and center time (ts) values show that the shell shaped auditorium has the best values. In addition, musical sound qualities were investigated using clarity index (C80) and Ts acoustical parameters. Appropriate values were found in all of the rooms.