In collaboration with Mahya Sabour

Bachelor of Science in Architecture Architectural Studio

McGill University

Jan 2016 - May 2016

responsive architecture

Responsive architectures are those that measure actual environmental conditions and enable the building to adapt its form, shape, colour or character accordingly. By taking advantage of the harsh weather conditions of the arctic environment, we hope to create a building that is able to maximize the use of the sun and minimize the impact of the strong winds by creating an experimental space in which the artists and scientists will be able to explore the nature surrounding them. The project is divided in two phases: The first one consisting of the design of the building, and the second consisting of prototyping one element of the building.

a station for artists & researchers studying the harsh arctic climate

PROBLEM

In Alert, strong winds, extreme amounts of sun and lots of snow dominate the site throughout the year. Our focus is to develop a dynamic architecture that responds to the harsh environmental conditions of the Arctic all the while allowing its users to engage with nature through the building.

PROCESS

We approached each one of these issues through a layer of our building: the first one is the form of the building which is shaped in a way that is derived from wind analyses and mathematical rationalizations. The second membrane which is placed in the interior of the building under the roof is a layer of solar panels that fold according to the position of the sun and to the program over which they are placed.

SOLUTION

The team of experimental artists inhabiting the space can appropriate the open plan as they wish. The folding solar panels, while acting as shading devices and energy savers, allow the artists to create spaces with various ambiances by chosing their level of opening. The artists are the arbitrators between the nature and their installations, dictating and controlling the projection of the environment on their work.

After investigating the prevailing winds in the region of Alert, we noticed that the strongest winds come from 3 main directions. The first response was to shape the building according to the strength of these winds through mathematical rationalizations; this strategy did not turn out to be the most effective. In fact when studying the shape of wings, we realized how it gets thinner at the edges in order to cut through the wind and to minmize the pressure.

 

In the strategy proposed, we started off with a cylinder which is the optimal shape to avoid winds, and pinched this cylinder on the 3 edges where the wind hits the building, in order to minimzie the contact surface and therefore the wind pressure on the building.

WIND ANALYSIS ON SITE

SHAPE DIAGRAM

OPENING GRADIENT ACCORDING TO THE POSITION OF THE ATTRACTOR POINT

Located right under the transparent roof, the triangulated panels frame solar PV panels that open and close become both a shading device and a source of solar energy collection for the building. The movement is created through an actuator that exerts pressure on the central point of each system and causes the smaller panels to fold accordingly.

By default, the attractor point is the sun: The more sun, the more open the panels are, the more energy they store and the more shade they provide. The attractor point can be set by the artists in the station in order to move panels according to their desires.

FOLDING MOVEMENT OF OPENINGS

OPEN FLOOR PLAN

VIEWS INSIDE THE STATION

LONGITUDINAL VIEWS OF THE STATION

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TRIANGULATION OPENING GIF SIMULATION

MOVEMENT OF THE BUILT PROTOTYPE - ARDUINO SCRIPT

PROTOTYPING