Biomimicry: the Roof of PIND’s ATED Centre mimics a Plantain Leaf

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies — new ways of living — that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul. [1]

There are so many instances where designers have imitated nature to proffer sustainable solutions to human problems some of which are; Learning from humpback whales to create efficient wind power energy; learning from prairies to grow food in resilient ways, or imitating termite hills to create sustainable buildings. If you live in the Niger Delta, there’s an amazing example of biomimicry just around the corner.

In a bid to collect water to keep its stem soft all year round, the plantain (and banana) tree has its leaves shaped at an angle that effectively collects rain water directly into its stem. This adaptation mechanism makes it possible for the plantain and banana to thrive without much ‘artificial’ irrigation.

the ATED centre showing the roof shaped liked a plantain leaf to collect water into tanks

Modern architecture has brought us several roof designs and many of these designs have their various functionalities. However, the roof of PIND Foundation’s ATED Centre is deliberately designed to harvest rainwater into two gigantic tanks, just like the plantain leaf, and this provides water for the building’s non-drinking water needs.

This is a simple solution for a complex global water problem. Statistics show that every household needs at least 50 liters of water a day for its daily needs, and WHO (the World Health Organization) says about 3.4 million people, mostly children, die annually from water-related diseases.

This solution can also be replicated in many other regions blessed with abundant rainfall, especially the Niger Delta.

About the ATED Centre

The Appropriate Technology Enabled Development (ATED) Centre building has a 75% energy reduction on the building compared to conventional buildings. It models the passive haus design concept that achieves all year thermal comfort with minimal energy expenditure.

There are many exciting features at the ATED Centre but for this piece focused on the roof. ind out more about the centre or book a tour here


1- Biomimicry Institute, What is Biomimicry,

This piece first appeared on NDLink