In this visually stimulating TED talk, architect Thomas Heatherwick shows off some of the best designs inspired by biology in his portfolio. While some may go gaga over the famous Seed Cathedral, in a surprising conclusion to the presentation, Heatherwick reveals plans for high-rise apartments in Malaysia that are designed…upside-down. This unique configuration provides the economic benefit of creating more of the valuable top-floor real estate while also creating ample space for a natural rainforest ecosystem.
The before and after pictures below show how a seemingly simple adjustment in a traditional design – the “flip” – produced a dramatically new result (click each image for the full-sized version).
While he doesn’t explain structural aspects in his talk, the design does not seem especially suited to earthquake-prone regions (which seem to be increasing around the globe).