June 2nd 2009, the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin stadium in Malaysia partially collapsed barely a month after it’s construction. Even though the steady structure was made out of iron and concrete, it still did not resist to the forceful winds. Architects later tried to find the fault in their construction. They wondered how it could be more fragile than another, despite the fact that the same material had been used. When we know that a meer spider web can resist winds up to 60 km/h without breaking, we can only question our own construction methods. In fact, the resistants of the web inspired architects to design structures such as the stadium “L’Estadio Ciudad de La Plata” in Argentina.

This process is called biomimicry. Biomimicry (“bio” = life, and “mimicry” = imitation) can be labeled as a process of human innovation inspired by the living. Gaudi stated in the nineteenth century that “the architecture of the future will be built by imitating nature because it is the most rational, sustainable and economical method”. This process has been around for decades, with one of the earliest examples being the study of birds to permit human flight. Over the years we have evolved a great deal using this way of perceiving life. Here are some of the most world renowned examples.

Inspired by the beak of a Kingfisher, the Shinkansen Bullet Train design became more aerodynamic, therefore limiting the thunder like noises when exiting a tunnel.

Velcro was inspired by the tiny hooks found on the surface of burs

As we mentioned previously, spiders are also well known for playing a big part in this process due to the incredible properties of their silk webs. They have inspired in many different ways. They have enabled the creation of bullet-proof vests, parachutes, acoustic metamaterial and so much more.

However, we are going to focus on the structure of these spider webs and see how it applies to architecture. For the stadium l'Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, in Argentina, architects used steel cables to replace the spider’s threads and conceive roofs with a light frame covered with a thin membrane laid.

We decide to ask ourselves: Is this structure indeed more sturdy than another stadium and if so how?

To answer our query first of all, we are going to discuss the way that spiders create their webs and compare their methods to ours. Next, we will talk about the solidity of our creation and compare different spider inspired patterns. And finally we will check the impact of the materials used to create the stadium on its strength.

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