3D printed Hygroscopic Programmable Material Systems

Development of computational design and digital fabrication of climate responsive material systems for architecture.

Biological systems address performance challenges with limited resources by using complex and multi-layer structured assemblies. Nature makes use of structured material organizations and differentiation strategies to tackle competing performance criteria. Some biological systems, such as plant cones, have the capacity to adapt to their environment by harnessing external atmospheric conditions to trigger considerable responsive kinematic shape changes. Unlike conventional engineering systems, which rely on discreet functional components (sensors, actuators and controllers), biological systems rely on differentiated materials and structured material systems that are at the same time sensor, actuator, and regulator. Previous research at the Institute for Computational Design explored the transfer of these biological principles to architectural systems based on hygrocopically actuated wood-veneer composite sytems, leading to the development of the HygroScope Installation (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2012) and a first building application for the HygroSkin Pavilion (FRAC Centre, Orleans, 2013). The research presented here seeks to expand these investigations through the possibility of numerically controlled, additive layer manufacturing technologies to engage design challenges at a material level.

Project Team:
Institute for Computational Design, University of Stuttgart
Prof. Achim Menges, David Correa, Steffen Reichert



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