Scales of the butterfly

Butterflies are some of the most unique and complicated insect there are. It is one of few insects that goes through a full metamorphosis, which means going from a larva to a chrysalis and finally evolves into to a butterfly. All off these stages has some how developed their own special survival techniques and what i’v been looking into is the final stage, the fully evolved butterfly. What can we learn from the characteristics of butterflies and how can we translate it into new architecture in Morocco?



Marocco has one of the richest butterfly fauna in Africa. The pictures below are showing some of the butterflies that thrive in Marocco. As you can see most of them have a bit dull colors and this is of course to blend in with the surrounding as a camouflage in the hot and arid landscapes of Marocco.

So what more characteristics do the butterflies have except being dull?


All of these characteristics becomes more interesting when being applied to architecture in the climate of Marocco. The photo to the left below shows a magnification of the wings of the butterfly. It consist of tiny scale. These scales reminds of shingles which is shown on the right picture.

Another thing which is really interesting with butterflies is that they are closely related to the moths. The biggest difference is that moths are nocturnal while butterflies are diurnal and crepuscular. This gave me inspiration of a building that could have one expression during daytime and another one during night. Near the equator the sun sets really fast and when it’s dark, it pitch black.

The joint of the butterflies scales is also interesting. The pictures below shows how shingles on a house vs the scales of the butterflies are jointed. The shingles with its nails is secured but the butterflies scale looks almost like it can move and rotate. If the shingles of a facade would have had the same properties it would allow a living facade, a facade that can function as protection from the sun during day and rotate and function as something else during night.


By making some sort of mechanics that allows the shingles to rotate the facade will get different expressions and properties. Adjusting the size and volume of each scale with parametric design, working with colors and working with materials are things that has to be further explored with the help of

grasshopper and rhino.


Fascinating facts about butterflies

Butterflies of Marocco

Pictures – 

Butterfly Metamorphosis

Butterflies from Marocco –

Light and dark pavilion –, 

Butterfly scale magnification –

Butterfly scale joint – Bu






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