Petra Gruber
Architecture, Building Construction
2024S, scientific seminar (SEW), 3.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04800


The course Biodesign combines an introduction into biodesign/biomimicry/biomimetics with a design project, using nature as a model for creating innovative solutions.

  • The lecture part contains an introduction into the history, terminology, methodologies and different research fields and activities, including basic principles of design in nature, biological structures and materials, and ecological aspects.
  • The design part is a research-based development that takes on nature to inform an innovative project. For this part independent student work in research and design is required. The selection of the thematic area, research, abstraction, and application to a design context is carried out in continuous interaction and feedback involving external sources and experts.
  • The course outcomes are thematic presentations of specific research themes in nature and a design project presentation including graphics, digital and analog models.

The course may focus on a specific aspect that is aligned with a current research project. Activities include lectures, guest lectures, video presentations, discussions, visits, basic scientific research activities, lab and studio work, reviews, and presentations.

The course is open to students from different disciplines in architecture, design, and the arts. Interdisciplinary collaboration in small groups is welcome.

Learning outcomes are:

  • Increase of knowledge about the field of biodesign/biomimicry/biomimetic design
  • Ability to apply of the methodologies in a design context.
  • Increase critical thinking and analytic capacity in design.
  • Synthesize biological information and design problems and create new design solutions.

Examination Modalities

The assessment of the course is 40% reading response and class activity, and 60% design project. Written summaries are delivered individually for research on biological models or themes. Design concepts are developed in small groups and visualized in presentations and models. The final design project is jointly presented including all relevant steps of the design process, application scenario, models, and prototypes. The specific output is agreed on in reviews. Final presentation is held in class.



Gruber, Petra. "Biomimetics in architecture: architecture of life and buildings". (2010) Wien: Springer.
Imhof, Barbara, and Petra Gruber, eds. "Built to Grow-Blending Architecture and Biology." Birkhäuser, 2015.
Myers, William. Bio Design. Museum of Modern Art, 2012.
Thompson, Darcy Wentworth. "On growth and form." On growth and form. (1942).
Vincent, Julian FV, et al. "Biomimetics: its practice and theory." Journal of the Royal Society Interface 3.9 (2006): 471-482.

The course is now fully booked. Any new registrations will automatically be placed on the waiting list. We will notify individuals on the waiting list if spots become available.

Key Words

biodesign, biomimetics, biomimicry, bioart, biotechnology, growth, biobased design, bioarchitecture


12 March 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
19 March 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
09 April 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
16 April 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
23 April 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
30 April 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
07 May 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
14 May 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
21 May 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
28 May 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
04 June 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6
11 June 2024, 10:45–12:15 Seminar Room 6

Course Enrolment

From 20 December 2023, 10:30 to 31 March 2024, 10:30
Via online registration

Architecture (Master): Expertise: Architectural Science: Building Construction 443/002.01

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible