Biomimicry New Zealand


Our Projects


Bio-ABF: Biomimetic buildings for climate change adaptation: future generation of facades

Buildings account for 40% of total global energy consumption. If they could adapt to their surrounding environment, this would reduce their energy use and contribute significantly to climate change mitigation. A building façade that mimics biological adaptation (Bio-ABF) would have the ability to adapt to variable climatic conditions. This would reduce total energy consumption. This project will develop a conceptual Bio-ABF framework using computer modelling based on plant thermal adaptation strategies. It will then develop a computational technique to evaluate the energy performance of the exterior of the building. The digital module will be tested through a physical model.

This research, first, studies plant adaptation strategies suggested by the thermo-bio-architectural framework to develop a conceptual Bio-ABF module using computer modelling. Then a computational technique will be developed through which the energy performance of the dynamic façade could be evaluated for its efficacy. The digital module will be tested through a prototype in the form of a physical model of the single module of the adaptive building façade. We will evaluate the accuracy of the digital model and the developed real-world component in terms of responding to environmental conditions.

We aim to study the adaptation strategies of plants as suggested by the thermo-bio-architectural framework (ThBA) to design a multifunctional adaptive building façade module that can respond to all climatic factors and thus reduce building energy use. The aim is to first design this module so that its geometry can be altered without affecting its adaptive capability and then to test a prototype. The research tests the possibility of developing a Bio-ABF system through a single module that can function properly within a 1m3 space and be extended to form a façade.



Dr Negin Imani
Science Leader/ Primary Investigator

Research interests: building energy performance; adaptive building envelope; thermal comfort analysis; biologically-inspired innovation in building design and construction; bio-inspired thermoregulation; biomimetic approaches to energy efficiency; bioinspired materials; Eco-materials


Prof. Brenda Vale
Sustainability Mentor

Research interests: ecological footprinting, sustainable building design, zero energy housing design, history of prefabrication.

Dr Elspeth MacRae
Biology Mentor/ SfTI Theme Leader

Research interests: biorefinery, bioenergy, biodiscovery and bioplastics, packaging, 3 and 4D printing, clean technology, wood and fibre and biotech/omics, genetic modification, industrial biotechnology, carbohydrate and terpene sciences, packaging, biopolymer/bioprocessing/bioproduct industry activities, horticulture and food research, futures.


Dr Nicola Day
Biology Consultant

Research interests: boreal forest, ecological disturbance, ecological resilience, fire ecology, fungal ecology, global change, invasive species, microbes, mycorrhizas, plants, plant-soil feedbacks, soil biology, tussock grasslands

Research Assistants

Sabai Saw Shwe

July 2022 – December 2022

Maryam Namini
Industrial Designer

June 2022 – February 2023

Rana Abdollahi Rizi
Building Scientist

August 2022 – February 2023

Wenyao Zhu

June 2022- July 2022