Biomimicry: Biomimicry – Adapting bird wing into a retractable roof system

Name: Reion Tan Yew Siang



The structural system of a building is usually bulky and sturdy in form. The flexibility of building structures is normally overlooked. As technology advanced, new construction method has allowed structures that seemed impossible to be built. Flexibility in building structure may contribute to new build forms. This research paper aims to study and incorporate the honeycomb structure in a structural slab system to increase the flexibility without compromising to its strength to produce a 
curvature structure. A throughout literature review is done on the researches on honeycomb structure. From the researches, it is concluded that the strength of hexagon tessellate (honeycomb structure) depends on the length, width and thickness of the structure. The flexibility of the hexagon tessellate depends on the thickness of the structure, the height of the honeycomb and the direction of the honeycomb. Architecture deviation on the tessellation of hexagon, arrangement and thickness of the honeycomb are used to produce the prototype of the proposed slab. Experiments are conducted to compare the strength and flexibility between hexagon tessellate structure (honeycomb structure) & square tessellate structure (waffle slab system). From the experiment, it is concluded that the hexagon tessellate structure is 2.22 times more flexible than the square tessellate structure. In the strength test, the hexagon tessellate structure is 2.5 times stronger than the square tessellate structure. Furthermore, the square tessellate structure uses 1,320cm² of material to construct while the hexagon tessellate structure uses only 964cm² of material to construct. An interview is done with experts of the field (WebStructures) to comment on the research proposal. The experts advise in-situ construction method for the proposed slab. The construction detail of the proposed curved slab is drawn out and integrated into a residential building.

Honeycomb Structure


A cell is known as a single hexagon (Crowder B., 2021). A cell is where bee stores honey and a place for them to raise their larvae and to rest in. For centuries, researchers have been amazed by the fact how bees are able to understand such a complex structure to build their hive with. 

Hexagonal cells require the least total length of wall, compared with triangles or squares, to produce more area. So it makes sense that bees would choose hexagons, since making wax costs them energy, and they will want to use up as little as possible (Ball P., 2016).



Structure system plays as important role in architecture. They support and transmit applied loads safely to the ground without exceeding the allowable stress in the members (Britannica, 2020). Due to its purpose of being the building support, the structural system of a building is usually bulky and sturdy in form which lacks a sense of aesthetic. 

Background Study


The Honeycomb Condominium in the New Providence Island. The challenge of the building is the 5.3 meters cantilevered balcony, including pool water, weighing between 48,000 to 122,000 kilograms. This is made possible with the honeycomb’s innovative structural system. Because of the staggered partition walls and varied façade, the shear walls are connected to a structural column (Rosenfield K,2014). 


The Vessel in Manhattan, New York is an adult jungle gym with elevated platforms for sightseeing of neighboring buildings and scenery. The inspiration of the structure comes from an abandoned staircase at a construction site. Using the honeycomb structure, it is able to achieve 154 intertwining flights with 80 landings (Stewart J, 2016). 

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