Simon Schleicher is an architectural designer, researcher and educator whose work combines architecture, engineering and biology. In his search for an alternative to rigid-body mechanics––bodies or objects that are not deformed by forces upon them––Schleicher has been inspired by flexible plant movements. He aims to use computational modeling and simulation techniques to transfer plants’ bending and folding mechanisms to elastic systems in architecture. In case studies, Schleicher has shown how bio-inspired mechanisms can shade double-curved facades of structures.
He is the director of the Flexible Structures Lab at UC Berkeley, which combines the expertise of the College of Environmental Design’s Building Science, Technology and Sustainability Group with other departments on campus to push the boundaries of bio-inspired architectural design. Schleicher is teaching a two-semester studio on bio-inspired design and fabrication.
Schleicher earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in architecture and urban planning from the University of Stuttgart, a master’s degree in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Stuttgart.
He previously served as project manager for the first ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010, which won the DETAIL prize and was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. Schleicher’s other awards include the Gips-Schüle-Forschungspreis, the International Bionic-Award, the Ralph Adam Cram Award, the Imre Halasz Thesis Prize, the British Institution Award and the Pininfarina-Förderpreis.