Hart Marlow and Leaf Venation

Hart Marlow is an architectural designer from Brooklyn New York scheduled to participate in the Biodynamic Structures Workshop with the AA this coming July along with Michael Mccune. We recently got in contact with him and he shared some insight and images about a project relevant to biologically inspired architecture revolving around the analysis of leaf venation…

Judging by the above diagram, the analysis seems rather in depth…as we suspected. A language has been developed that boils down the rules defining how veins are arranged in the leaf, later to be applied to architecture. One of the dominant themes is the nature of an inherent hierarchy to the veins, with primary, secondary and later even finer varieties. Hart had this to say about the application of the work:

“As the development of nature is examined, it has interrelated dynamic processes that correlate between global shape and structure and the biological system that comprise its being.   Nature can be studied and researched through digital simulation and analysis. One representation of nature is leaf venation.   Leaf venation can be simulated through parametric design and analysis of both its structural and mechanical systems. Leaf venation has a direct correlation to many systems in architecture such as the development of structure, program, circulation, heating, cooling and ventilation.”

These methods were then applied to architectural applications as mentioned above. The structural systems are quite interesting and the branching nature of the organization is very evident in several renderings.

Below is a stunning rendering of a potential building using this structural application.

Hart also added:

“Usually within veining, the primary and secondary veins are the major vein classifications which are represented as first and second order veins.  These are the widest veins originating at the leaf base which spawn finer veins and veinlets.   There becomes a progressively higher order (one through four) of veins until they terminate at the end of the veining system ([a]). Venation patterns are based on the taxonomic groups of plants. Within those groups, there are 2 types of venation that are apparent, tree like (per current) and netlike (reticulate). Examples of tree like are the blades of grass which usually have a parallel veining. The blade has an order which relates to its elongated leaf shape and wide leaf base. Netlike venation ([c]) is a “closed loop,” and contains a hierarchy of different vein sizes and  has conduits inside them. Within these conduits there are pressure differences within the four orders of veins. The pressure differences are conceptually similar to those of a mechanical system.”

We also asked Hart more about the project based on the above discussion:

BA: I had one question. In your application of the venation model did you apply the treelike method or the netlike method? Also, did you guys actually run any structural analysis to see how structure in this form would react to traditional building forces? we really love the project, the skeleton renderings are great.

HM: Glad you like it, I ended up using a combination methods of disturbing the structural system. I wanted to run an analysis in Ansys but never got around to it, I should do it!

Special thanks to Hart for being so great.

1 Comment

  1. Mohammad /Reply

    Wow we just decided to do a research on leaf venation today! it’s amazing how fast the biomimetic research is going forward. 🙂
    An exciting field for ever 🙂
    Thanks for sharing Ehsan. it’s great to know about the work 🙂
    Thumbs up!

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