This paper presents recent research for new mechanical systems and façade designs that are able to respond to environmental changes through local interactions, inspired by biological systems. These are based on a model of distributed intelligence founded on insect and animal collectives, from which intelligent behaviour emerges through simple local associations. Biological collective systems integrate material form and responsiveness and have the potential to inform new architectural and engineering strategies. The proposed façade system uses integrated sensors and actuators that moderate their local environments through simple interactions with their immediate neighbors. Computational techniques coupled to manufacturing methods and material logics create an integral design framework leading to heterogeneous environmental and structural conditions, producing local responses to environmental stimuli, and ultimately, effective performance of the whole system.