Tatiana Bilbao: What architects can learn from nature

Tatiana Bilbao tells Jonathan Glancey about what architects can learn from nature’s organic processes – and the lessons they have for us as citizens too.

The architect Tatiana Bilbao grew up in the densely packed urban environment of Mexico City. And yet despite, or perhaps because of this, her practice is concerned with integrating lessons from nature.

She tells Jonathan Glancey about how her thinking changed when she was commissioned to design a series of buildings for the botanical gardens in the city of Culiacán in the north of Mexico.

 Yoga is a popular pastime in the gardens and Bilbao originally planned to construct a yoga studio there, until a gardener pointed out to her that this would impose order, rules and a schedule on the spontaneous activity of the park users. Bilbao realised that instead her plans needed “to respect the place… to understand its roots and from there make the intervention.”

Her design for the Casa Ventura, a private home on a hillside in Monterey, also shows her concern for the organic; the series of concrete pentagons that make up the house seem to emerge seamlessly from the landscape in which they are set.

Bilbao tells Jonathan Glancey about her distinctive approach to the built environment.

BBC Culture is a media partner of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which runs from 3 October 2015 – 3 January 2016.

Throughout October and November we will look at the work of some of the world’s most exciting architects and examine how buildings shape our lives. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest from Chicago.