The reading shows that design is becoming more inter-disciplinary than ever before borrowing from biology and nature too along with its old friends, physics and chemistry. Designers, Engineers and architects now are looking at cross-disciplinary subjects like biomimicry which looks natural methods for manufacturing,design and imitating mechanisms found in nature. I remember a story of Tesla as a child where he manufactured a 16-bug powered motor out of live June bugs which if there was a photograph of it would look much like devices we see today in DARPA funded research (except that it was cheaper and did much less than the latter.) Inventors and scientists have always looked at nature to provide answers to questions on improving existing designs and manufacture novel contraptions.
It also gives us a magnificient overview of the process of design, prototyping and manufacturing of large scale structures true to the concepts they are trying to mimick. The advances in technology also help to drive down the costs and time it takes to design such close to nature objects that live symbiotically with nature and invites it to participate and enhance the strength of the design as it lives in the environment. The dikes of Holland being re-engineered to gain strength over time based on the interaction with the sea and sand is one such example. Advances in computing is also improving the designs with new algorithms that work with complex systems, parametric equations which in turn are prototyped quickly with machines that can talk to these computers quicker.
Overall, the reading gave us a detailed overview of morphogenetic design concepts, lots of examples, real building prototypes and engineered structures that have been deployed successfully.