Animal Architecture: The Best Builders of the Natural World

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'Round these parts, we love interesting architecture — we just never thought about animals loving it too. Now, a new book called, you guessed it, Animal Architecture, is showing us just how intricately beautiful animal homes can be.

Pictured above: A wasps nest constructed of masticated wood — observing wasps lead early Chinese to invent paper.
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Namibian baya weavers build their nests from fresh grasses which dry and harden over time.

National Geographic and BBC Wildlife photographer Ingo Arndt has captured a wide range of animals and their stunning (and sustainable) designs.

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A nest of red wood ants — a huge structure compared to a tiny ant.

In fact, in his introduction, Arndt points out just how inter-connected and useful the structures are to the environment around them, not something many human home builders often consider. He mentions how the structures are often multi-purpose, built by one species and later used by several others.

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Termite mounds in Austrailia are often up to 10 ft tall and house 2-3 million insects.

And not unlike human decorators, these animals have very specific home requirements. There are bowerbirds who forage, not for food, but to decorate their space with all the colorful objects they can find; or the field filled with hundreds of termite towers, all carefully oriented north to south to regulate the temperature inside and keep it comfortable.

Sounds like we could all take a lesson or two from nature when it comes to our homes.

Animal Architecture is available from Abrams books right here.

Or, see more incredible photos at Co.Design & The Guardian.

(Image credits: The Guardian; Co.Design; Co.Design)