By Sun Kim
Posting in Architecture
To survive the influx of the six billion people who will live in cities by the year 2050, scientists and designers predict that cities will come alive.
By the year 2050, six billion people will live in cities. To survive the influx of all those people and the increase of energy demands, scientists and designers predict that the manmade urban environment will come alive. A report by Spencer Kelly for BBC looks at projects that will allow buildings to sense and adapt to the people in them and the environment around them.
The Media-ICT building, designed by Enric Ruiz-Geli, has an exterior skin of EFTE (the same material that formed the skin of the Beijing Olympics Water Cube) cushions that become dynamic sun shades. With the help of a nitrogen based fog and smart temperature sensors that collect information about the outside environment, the cushions can adjust, inflate, deflate, and become opaque. Each element of the exterior skin has its own IP address connected with Arduino, an open source software.
The sensors and software that enable the building to close or open all the curtains and activate the fog clouds can also read the shade produced by neighboring buildings. The building skin can then respond like a living skin. The exterior sensors are only part of a network of over 500 sensors in the building.
Hylozoic Ground, a project developed by Philip Beesley, represents a potential generation of responsive buildings that move and breathe. Presented at the 2010 Venice Biennale, the research is based on a latticework of digitally-fabricated components, microprocessors, and proximity sensors that react to human presence. The "geotextile" acts like a giant lung to exchange and filter air and moisture.
The lightweight structure looks delicate but Beesley says that the materials could be compressed to form walls.
Beyond the recent developments of sustainable architecture like biomimicry and green walls and roofs, projects like the Media-ICT building and Hylozoic Ground represent exciting steps towards a self-renewing urban environment.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Study traces the energy usage disconnect in buildings
- Colorful, breathing building facade
- Future buildings could eat (and grow from) carbon emissions
- How buildings could come to life [BBC]
Images: copyright Luis Roz, Cea Flickr
Apr 23, 2012
I am a civil/structural engineer and IT practitioner. Now retired, I spend my time trying to estimate the absolute maximum population carrying capacity of the Australian continent at varying levels of amenity and lifestyle. Beyond a certain level, there must be a substantial migration back to the country. For remote communities, I am postulating the use of prefabricated steel-framed buildings which would allow internal rearrangement for different purposes and would carry roof gardens and glass-houses. As all of the cladding is bolt-on, I foresee a substantial demand for materials such as EFTE in arid locations where the temperatures vary widely and and the demand for energy must be minimised.