Alikhani Ma,b, Sangsuwon Ca, Nervina JMa, Teixeira CCc
Figure 1: Development of form. Development of form occurs during different stages. Each stage is called a micro-state (micro-states 1 to 4 are shown). The final shape is called the macro-state. As we progress toward the macro-state, the size and complexity of the form increases.
Figure 2: Units of the form. The form can be considered as one large square, each composed of smaller squares which are considered the form’s unit at that scale. The size of units can be different depending at which scale we look at the form.
Figure 3: Mass form. Assume we assemble a jigsaw puzzle. If we drop the puzzle on the floor, its pieces will generate a random shape regulated by physical laws. This form is representative of the collective shape of its units, which based on their physical structure will adopt a particular position in space (mass form). However, this form does not reflect a specific organization between units anymore or the form’s function (functional form).
Figure 4: Functional form. Functional form represents the organization between units of the form at that micro-state. For example, the organization of cells at different micro-states produce a unique multicellular form, such as a human. The final shape of a human is not just a blob of material stuck together but highly organized units at that macro-state performing different functions.
Figure 5: Encapsulation. During the development of the form, each micro-state becomes the building block for the next stage. Each colorful block represents a micro-state.
Figure 6: Hierarchical organization of form. The molecular structure at different magnification levels creates a different micro-state and organization that produces a different form. The final form depends on the organization of these molecules and not the original shape of the molecules. In this example, collagen, one of the main structural proteins in our body, shows different levels of organization from a collagen chain to its grouping into a triple helix, which is packed to form a collagen microfibril which in turn is organized to make fibrils. Multiple fibrils form a bundle that can be organized into packs called lamellae. These building blocks can be used to produce different shapes, for example, trabecular or compact bone.
Figure 7: Fractal form. Blood vessels are an example of a fractal structures where similar patterns are observed at different scales of the form, from lower to higher magnification.
Figure 8: Positive and Negative Feedback. This schematic shows an example of positive and negative feedback between micro-states. In this example, lower micro-states (1 and 2) exert a positive feedback on the next micro-state, while the more developed micro-state (micro-state 4) controls the growth of this signal by putting restrictions on lower micro-states (micro-state 1 or 2).
Figure 9: Diversification. As complex biological forms develop, different micro-states start to appear, creating different outcomes in different areas of the form. The final form is a collection of all these diversified micro-states.
Figure 10: Networking. Interactions between similar and diversified micro-states in different locations produce another level of organization into networks. Different color circles illustrate diversified micro-states. These localized networks automatically act as macro-environments for adjacent networks and create a more extensive network representing the whole form. (dashed lines represent interactions between networks).
Figure 11: Centralization coordinates form development. During the development of the form, as different micro-states develop at the same time in different locations, the need for coordination arises so the organism can perform vital functions. Different color circles illustrate different micro-states developing independently until a micro-state assumes the role of organizing center, playing an important role in the evolution of form by keeping the coordination between different parts of the form.