The Architecture Foundation Present
Exploration Architecture:
Designing With Nature


Exploration Architecture: Designing with Nature is the first-ever solo show of Exploration, a thought-leading architecture and design practice working in the field of biomimicry.


Installed within The Architecture Foundation’s Central London Project Space, an immersive display and striking 3D printed installation showcases a selection of four projects and prototypes from the studio’s cutting-edge research on sustainable, nature-inspired design, including two new previously unpublished schemes.



Study models, info-graphics and specially commissioned short films introduce Exploration’s projects. They are presented alongside a myriad of natural specimens that inspired the designs – offering unique insight into the studio’s practice of learning from nature in order to deliver future-facing solutions for architecture, systems design and materials production that address the major challenges of our age.


Founder and Director of Exploration, Michael Pawlyn is a leading practitioner working in the field of biomimicry, a rapidly progressing discipline that is rigorously based on studying how functions are delivered in biological forms and translating these into new solutions for design and resource use.


Prior to setting up his practice, Pawlyn worked with Grimshaw Architects for ten years and was central to the team that radically re-invented horticultural architecture for the Eden Project. He has lectured widely on the subject of sustainable design and is author of Biomimicry in Architecture (RIBA Publishing, 2011), a leading text in the field. In 2008 Exploration was short-listed for the Young Architect of the Year Award as well as the internationally renowned Buckminster Fuller Challenge.


Showcasing Exploration’s working philosophy and embracing 3D printing’s capacity for radically increased resource efficiency, the exhibition’s central installation takes the form of a long sweeping display designed to showcase innovative SKO software – a structural optimisation computer programme based on the adaptive growth patterns of trees and bones – and has been created with support from large-scale 3D printing pioneer Lukas Oehmigen of BigRep and Ultimaker.


Michael Pawlyn, Director, Exploration Architecture, said of the exhibition: “We were delighted to receive the commission for this exhibition from The Architecture Foundation and look forward to having the opportunity to show just how much biomimicry has to offer designers in moving beyond conventional approaches to sustainability. Biomimicry draws on nature as a source of solutions that are already extremely well adapted to the very challenges we will need to address over the next few decades – from climate change to resource scarcity. The exhibition will also show Exploration’s working methodology of initiating projects, and collaborating with specialists from different disciplines to overcome obstacles to radical new solutions.”


At a time when architecture and society need to reconsider their relationship to the natural world and move towards a more ecologically sustainable future, the exhibition offers a timely showcase of biomimicry and the innovative approach to design it offers.

Sarah Ichioka, Director, The Architecture Foundation said: The show and its accompanying public events programme will build upon The AF’s core mission of presenting the best new ideas in architecture that have the power to shape and improve the quality of our built environment. We believe that the exhibition’s cutting-edge installation design and engaging content will appeal to both a specialist audience and the general public and offer a unique platform to explore this practice’s important work.”


The Architecture Foundation is delighted to have partnered with Interface, a pioneer in applying biomimicry to industrial design challenges, as a headline sponsor for this exciting exhibition.

Nigel Stansfield, from Interface commented: Nature has long been a source of inspiration for Interface and has led to some of our most sustainable and commercially successful innovations ever. We hope that visitors to the exhibition will be inspired by what they see and encouraged to consult nature for sustainable solutions to future design challenges.”


Exhibition Dates: 7 February – 15 March, Tue – Sat, 12 – 6pm
Entry: Free admission
Venue: The Architecture Foundation, 136-148 Tooley St, London SE1 2TU
For more information and details of the public events program, see here.

Curated by: Exploration Architecture and The Architecture Foundation
Headline Sponsor: Interface
In-kind support: Lukas Oehmigen, BigRep; and Ultimaker