Property developer Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development
Corporation (ITPI) is a strong advocate of the concept of biomimicry in their buildings.
ITPI is an Italian-Filipino company known for its advocacy for, and
practice of, sustainable architecture and development around the country.
The developer supports ‘biomimicry’ because it believes there is no richer
source of inspiration than nature for buildings to work.
Its first property in Cagayan de Oro called Primavera Residences
recently garnered a Five Star Award for Best Mixed-Use Development in the
Philippines at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2014-2015.
Chairman and CEO of ITPI, architect Romolo V. Nati explains that the biomimicry
concept has been around for centuries, citing a famous historical example of
how scientist Leonardo da Vinci copied the wings of a bat to invent his own
Pointing out how consumption of natural resources and human development
were in balance up to a certain point in history, Nati observes that the balance
was broken primarily because of a cultural misconception that resources were
infinite and man had total control over nature. For man to change, his thinking
has to change first, which will positively impact cities.
For instance, property developers often copy models from around the
world, which is wrong because something that works elsewhere may not work in
another location. Additionally, developments tend to work against nature
instead of adapting to it, resulting in structures becoming too dependent on
artificial cooling systems, which contribute to rising CO2 levels.
Describing nature as actually the most intelligent designer with plants,
animals and natural structures all designed with a purpose and function, Nati
says the learnings from nature should be used and adapted to building design,
to solve ventilation problems such as cooling and temperature control.
For the award-winning Primavera Residences, for instance, ITPI took
inspiration from an anthill. One of Primavera Residences’ most prominent
passive green features, the central column in the middle of every building,
takes its cue from the hollow opening to the ant colony used for transporting
materials and for ventilation.
The central column allows natural light into the building, diminishing
the need for artificial lighting, and creates a funnel effect that allows air
inside the building and distributes it to cross-facing units. Cantilevered
edges absorb the sun’s heat before it hits the windows, helping to reduce the
At its Coral City project, another architectural concept based on
biomimicry, ITPI took inspiration from coral with the 30,000 sqm green complex
featuring individual, interconnected buildings in ring-like shapes that can
withstand earthquakes, typhoons and floods.
Architect Nati says one of the most significant benefits of looking to
nature for design inspiration has been the huge savings achieved on
construction costs. For instance, by incorporating passive design features, they
don’t need to use expensive equipment or hire speciality green construction
firms to construct their designs.
ITPI’s design inspiration is helping property buyers save money, with
20% savings being achieved on electricity thanks to the green features.