Wild Buildings and Bridges: Architecture Inspired by Nature

illus. by Carl Wiens. 40p. bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Kids Can. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781771387811.
Gr 3–7—An informational picture book that will fit perfectly into STEM units on nature and sustainability. Kaner provides a global examination of the ways that architects have learned from, and been inspired by, nature. Each example uses a combination of drawings and photographs of the building or bridge, along with detailed cross-sections to accompany the technical details in the text that explain the rules of nature applied by the architect. Kaner includes biographical information about the architects behind these masterpieces, with in-depth "Meet the Architect" insets on figures like Koen Olthuis and Frank Gehry. The book also considers the topics of recycling, energy efficiency, fractals and truss patterns as applied in engineering, and architectural design. There are a number of simple, fun activities that give children (and teachers) a hands-on way to better understand the concepts presented in the book. The work concludes with a design challenge that asks readers to get creative and construct their own structure using inspiration from a lotus flower, armadillo, jellyfish, and other elements of the natural world, followed by a spread of drawings and descriptions of actual buildings. This section, along with a number of other features, would undoubtedly inspire further research, career explorations, and many creative ideas.
VERDICT An essential STEM addition that will inspire the curiosity of budding architects and also provide a wealth of extended activities for educators.

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