A building envelop is to a structure as our skin is to our bodies. But whereas our protective outer layers are responsive to the environment (both inside and outside ourselves), the walls that wrap around a building often fail to adapt to their changing surroundings. In Envelopes, an exhibit that opened at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in March and closes May 5, guest curator Christopher Hight invited designers from around the world to create their visions of sustainable building surfaces that take on the sensory and responsive qualities of human skin.
On display by Future Cities Lab founding design partners Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson is XEROMAX. The human-harvesting-like cables a la The Matrix are part of a prototype wall for desert living that clibrates, tunes, records, and responds to energy cycles and interactions over time. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
Here, the reverse side of Future Cities Lab's XEROMAX prototype wall for a desert habitat. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
Designed by Marcelyn Gow, Ulrika Karlsson, and Chris Perry of servo, Hydrophile is prototype hydrodynamic green rood. Undulating like rolling hills above, the roof creates spaces of varying volumes below with openings to the sky overhead. Image courtesy servo.
Conceptual artist and Rice University architecture professor envisions modern day Garden Cities, rings of lush landscapes outside the metropolitan center rather than cookie-cutter suburbs. Her Hydroponic Curtain Wall, designed with Kevin Topek and Carlisle Vandervoort, is part of a larger project to transform Houston, Texas, properties into green-garden-filled spaces. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
At the exhibition, Mary Ellen Carroll's Hydroponic Curtain Wall stands near HouMinn Practice's white OSWall. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
Here, the reverse side of HouMinn Practice's OSWall. Its name, short for Open Source Wall, is derived from the firm's crowdsourcing efforts to tap the minds of designers, engineers, and DIYs in search of new construction technologies, systems, and strategies and the wall is an example of some of those ideas. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
This curious little piece, dubbed Aération Douce par Renouvellement d’Air Double Flux (Gentle Aeration by Double Flow Ventilation), is the work of Swiss architect Philippe Rahm. It's part of Rahm’s Terroirs Deterritorialises, which comrpises a series of pieces used to measures and mediates humidity, temperature, and airflow. Photo courtesy VIA (Valorisation de l'Innovation dans l'Ameublement), Paris.
Also by Rahm is Eclairage (Lighting). After Envelopes closes, these pieces will become part of the permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Photo courtesy VIA (Valorisation de l'Innovation dans l'Ameublement), Paris.
On view from Michael U. Hensel and Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel at OCEAN Design Research are several ideas for new building surfaces, including this Complex Brick Assemblies prototype. Image courtesy Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel.
Also on display from OCEAN Design Research, Auxiliary Architecture. Photo courtesy Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel.
The Hydrogen House by !ndie architecture is a design for a suburban home that connects the interior to the exterior and larger community via responsive energy measuring. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
These glowing slug-like blobs are the creation of environmental design office Weathers. Dubbed Climate Design, each hump houses a light, water reserve, heating filament, agitator to create a water vapor and/or heat, and seating element. The goal is to create microclimates outdoors based on the clustering of each unit and the people sitting on them. Photo courtesy Diana Pau.
Here, a rendering of grouped Climate Design units creating a warm space in an outdoor park. Image courtesy of Weathers.