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How Kinetic Architecture Can Redefine Folding Space through Variation

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © centralasian | Flickr

With the redefinition of flexible space into what is now being called kinetic architecture, you as an architect need to go beyond movement to really think about what growth, expansion and contraction has the power to do. Furthermore, we can begin to bring forward what it might mean for architectural design when we think about a folding space — space transiently reconfigured through variation.

It is time to revisit walls, by really looking at them in section, and understanding how easily walls can turn into the ceilings, floors and transient windows. For this reason, I love the following image which shows you very clearly one way in which an architectural product called Metamorphosis Shimmer (by Philips Design) can make a simple, elegant and multifaceted design for kinetic architecture.

Here is what Philips Design says when describing their Metamorphosis Shimmer product:

“Shimmer is an architectural product concept designed to facilitate well-being through surprise, movement, natural noise management, air movement and natural light dispersion.The „stripes‟ are based on flexible elements that emit natural light and channel air. They can transform to change the interior characteristics of a space in response to people and the atmospheric/lighting conditions outside.The elements of the system are a composite laminate consisting of a light diffusing material; air/vapor capillary system, flexible audio membrane and structural and decorative elements. Space is transformed as the „stripe‟ elements are flexed, changing the volume, affecting the airflow and the sound characteristics. The tension is altered by a system of cables connected to small motors with a gearbox, allowing natural light conditions to be transported from the outside into the interior space.”

The Convergence of Many Transient Designs Working Together

I would like to show you the following video as a source of great inspiration to get you thinking about what can be achieved by injecting kinetics into the equation by which you design. As you will see, a unification of the senses to improve lifestyle for people can help them not only live healthier but in greater harmony with each other and our planet.

In the video below, the visualizations for future designs include many interesting and different ideas, going beyond the Shimmer project I talked about earlier. As you watch it, try to imagine a world where many of these transient designs adapt to your occupants and other surrounding conditions and situations — where not only one kinetic installation makes all the difference, but the harmony and balance between multiple and layered kinetics working together is what really has the potential to bring the human standard of living to a much better level (while also being in greater harmony with the planet).

Here is the video entitled — Philips Design’s latest Design Probe “Metamorphosis”.

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TESTIMONIALS

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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