Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Will smart balloons change design?

Posted by Will it stand? at 12:46 PM
At the 2009 ACADIA (Assoc. for CAD In Architecture) conference, I was blown away by all the radical design ideas brought forth. Of them, the most intriguing ideas imagined how new technologies could be used to create responsive structures - buildings that could change shape and function in reaction to external stimuli. Ideas like this are more familiar in the robotics field, but it turns out that simple mechanisms can be utilized to bring our buildings alive.

Mehran Gharleghi and his colleagues at Studio Integrate in London have been exploring the field of responsive structures. Their motivation was to apply simple light weight technologies to provide naturally ventilated and cooled spaces in hot sunny locations. The following is a short description of their research on an Adaptive Pneus in their own words:

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"This research focuses on the performative capacities of a pneumatic material system in regard to the specific environmental conditions. It explores a new approach that integrates form generation, material behavior and capacity, manufacturing, and assembly to deliver a modulated environment suitable for occupation.

The focus of the design process and research was the use of Adaptation as a mechanism to modulate environmental performance. Here, adaptability relates to the responsive action that affects the performance of the whole building and, therefore, holds a much closer relationship to the biological and natural ideas of responsiveness.

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Location of the sun during the day acts as a trigger to adapt the system, allowing the system to augment passively the environmental conditions. Detection and reaction are embedded in each cell, and responses take place locally and independently. These responses at the regional and global scales allow for the distribution of intelligence across the whole system."
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