Sundance School – Biomimicry Inspired by Sunflowers

Sunflowers have many superpowers.

What if children could learn and grow in a Sundance School – a school inspired by this remarkable plant.

When you are designing a building using sunflowers as inspiration you can use:

  • Visual inspiration—your design looks like a sunflower plant.
  • Use a principle found in nature, for example, the sunflower moves with the sun.
  • Ecosystem  – your design will be sustainable and use environmentally friendly materials.

In Japan, a nursery was designed by the architect Kengo Kuma, he was particularly inspired by the geometry of a sunflower. Go here to have a peek at this stunning nursery.

We studied how the sunflowers track the sun across the sky.

Sunflowers turn towards the sun, and they also rotate 180 degrees during the night to greet the morning sun. The flowers track from east to west during the day. But an adult sunflower settles down and faces the east all the time.

Sun-orientating behaviours have several advantages. The side that faces the sun warms up quicker and it grows faster. The plant that faces the morning sun might be more attractive to pollinators and the sunlight may help the morning dew to evaporate quicker, reducing the susceptibility to fungal diseases.

The sunlight may also help evaporate morning dew, reducing susceptibility to fungal disease.

We also looked at the colours that we could use in the classroom – warm, golden and sunny colours. Sunflowers have been used for centuries to create a dye.

This is a work in progress, and we will use the ideas from the blog post Invent the Room to look for suitable building materials for our Sundance School. A Life-Cycle Analysis will be carried out to ensure that our school uses the best possible materials.

We will build a model of the Sundance school using recycled boxes and other materials.

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