Design Informed by the Ecologies of Place HOK is a global architecture, planning, interiors and engineering practice that uses biomimicry as a platform for innovation to address higher levels of social, economic and ecological integration. This lecture shares research co-developed with Biomimicry 3.8, such as the Genius of Biome, and shares approaches to the built environment - from the building scale to the design of cities - that leverage natural systems and biomimicry design thinking. City and district scale examples in India and China, followed by building examples in Brazil, Haiti and California explore how biomimicry has re-framed environmental design challenges within a larger ecological context. They make a direct connection to nature; not only in how it has inspired the work aesthetically, but also affected their performance requirements. The ultimate goal is creating healthier, just and sustainable places in a changing world, and raises the question: in order to do so, should we not collaborate with the scientific community to achieve them? Thomas Knittel is a senior design principal with HOK Los Angeles, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. His projects in the U.S, Asia, Brazil, Middle East and Haiti explore the connections between people, culture and the environment. His work in biomimicry - taking inspiration from natural systems in order to solve human problems - focuses on integrating models from nature into the design of buildings, communities and cities. He shares these perspectives in academia and conferences, and is teaching a seminar on bio-inspired facades at USC in 2015. He holds a Masters from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is a certified biomimicry professional, studied at SCI-Arc, and has received over 30 design awards. Knittel donates his time as HOK’s design leader for The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Port au Prince, a new family learning center and orphanage funded by the USGBC, designed to LEED Platinum and net-zero standards.