The problem of exploring natural systems in service of architectural design is one of scale. Often times the performance of systems, ecologies, and organisms studied at their natural microscopic do not translate appropriately when brought to the scale of the human, the building, or the city. The best example might be the famous strength of the spider’s silk, which is many times stronger than steel, one of our most common building materials, but owes its strength to the fact that it performs at the scale of the spider, not beyond. There are some systems, however, which possess what could be called poly-scalar homology, or a certain self-similarity in terms of performance, geometry, and topology at every scale of their existence. It’s these abilities of these systems to exhibit congruent performance at all scales that make them suitable sites for research in the translation of natural systems to beneficial technologies and building performances .
The system which inspires our system is the sand dune. At all scales visually and topologically, the sand dune behaves the same. Composed of infinitesimal and innumerate grains of sand, the sand dune when viewed from outer space or from under one’s feet, looks, feels, and performs the same way. As a way to mitigate the energy of the wind moving across the landscape, the particle of sand allows for poly-scalar energy translation and absorption through its mobile capabilities.