published in 2010 in MS Thesis Archives
This thesis is an initial exploration into the development of a breathing building skin. The design of current mechanical systems is questioned in response to alternative means of heating and cooling buildings as well as recent changes to building standards which require passive ventilation strategies to be supplemented by some form of mechanical ventilation. This research thesis proposes a system of diaphragms as an alternative to the use of fans for distributing volumes of air.
The driving concepts for this project are the three types of biological adaptation; flexibility, acclimation, and learning. Of particular interest is how these biological concepts relate to architectural design and design computing. Parametric modeling was used throughout the project to study a family of folding geometry. This allowed for the iterative development of a diaphragm, fabricated from sheet material, that is capable of being actuated with a relatively small degree of movement in comparison to the scale of the overall piece. This research is significant as it puts forth a potentially energy efficient, and highly integrated alternative to fans while also illustrating a way of relating biological concepts of adaptation to architectural design.