Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form

Add to
Like
Comment
Share
By Gabrielle Golenda / Published by Dwell
In the design world, there's been a lot of interesting talk about “smart” architecture lately—particularly what's involved in making buildings responsive to their surroundings.

By design, self-regulatory systems can optimize our experiences within the built environment by sensing temperature, light, energy usage, and other conditions. As highlighted by the projects featured below, there exists a growing typology of buildings that use transformative and mobile attributes that adapt in response to the same set of elemental factors. These buildings are equipped with "smart" counterparts, skillfully bringing customizability by integrating large, building-scale kinetic elements.

Syddansk Universitet by Henning Larsen Architects

This campus is enveloped in a perforated metal facade with a distinctive triangular motif, which includes 1,600 panels in total. To meet the stringent energy targets of Denmark's building codes, sensors monitor heat and light levels around the building, allowing the facade panels to shift from open to half-open, to fully open.

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 1 of 24 -


Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 2 of 24 -

House With Sliding And Spinning Walls

Matharoo Associates deigned this home in India where, at the touch of a button, the chunky marble walls divide up into spinning and sliding panels. On some walls, two tiers of panels pivot in alternate directions, while other walls feature panels that slide back and forth.

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 3 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 4 of 24 -

Sharifi-ha House 

Designed by Tehran-based studio nextoffice, this residence adapts to Iran's fluctuating temperatures by opening up rooms in summer, and turning them inward during winter. Three swiveling pods rotate 90 degrees to open up to views and terraces. 

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 5 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 6 of 24 -

Converted Theater Complex in Beijing

Chinese studio Origin Architect converted an abandoned printing factory in Beijing into a theater complex with a huge folding wall that lifts up to reveal the contents of a weathered-steel auditorium.

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 7 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 8 of 24 -

A Home For a Film-Maker

Located in the countryside in Paraguay, this house was designed by local architect Javier Corvalán as the holiday home for a filmmaker. The roof can be lifted like a box, easily transforming from a comfortable residence into a sealed structure for when the owners leave for extended periods of time. 

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 9 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 10 of 24 -

Silicon Valley Art Gallery Renovation

Olson Kundig Architects transformed a vacant 1950s building with a new mechanical facade for a temporary gallery space, allowing it to reveal its contents to the neighborhood.  

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 11 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 12 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 13 of 24 -

Villa by Day, to Fortress by Night

This house outside Warsaw by Polish architect Robert Konieczny functions as a villa by day and a fortress by night. Shutters drop down to cover the entire facade and massive wall panels block out all the windows, allowing the residence to shut down into a safe central core with a drawbridge.

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 14 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 15 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 16 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 17 of 24 -

Sperone Westwater Gallery by Foster + Partners

Tightly sandwiched between two buildings in New York City, this gallery features a moving exhibition space that connects the floors of the gallery. The 12-by-20-foot moving mechanical space allows visitors to travel between floors—or alternatively, it can be fixed at a chosen level to extend the static exhibition spaces.

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 18 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 19 of 24 -

Cloud Seeding Pavilion by MODU Architecture

This 2,500-square-foot structure located outside the Design Museum Holon is used to hold small events. The pavilion is an attraction in its own right, due to its ever-shifting ceiling plane made of thousands of white plastic balls. 

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 20 of 24 -


Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 21 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 22 of 24 -

One Ocean Thematic Pavilion

This thematic pavilion by Viennese-based firm SOMA in Yeosu, South Korea, is outfitted with a kinetic facade of fins, which move in ocean-like patterns. The multi-layered experience undulates from topographical lines along the roof that open and close in a choreographed sequence after the sun sets. 

Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 23 of 24 -
Shape-Shifting Architecture: 10 Buildings That Move or Change Form - Photo 24 of 24 -