hygroskin: a climate-responsive kinetic sculpture
hygroskin: a climate-responsive kinetic sculpture hygroskin: a climate-responsive kinetic sculpture
sep 12, 2013

hygroskin: a climate-responsive kinetic sculpture

hygroskin – meteorosensitive pavilion
permanent collection, frac centre orleans, france, 2011-13
achim menges in collaboration with oliver david krieg and steffen reichert
all images courtesy of ICD / university of stuttgart




‘hygroskin — meteorosensitive pavilion’ is a climate-responsive architecture whose modular wooden skin autonomously acknowledges weather changes by contracting and expanding its built in apertures. developed by architects achim menges, oliver david krieg, and steffen reichert at the institute for computational design (ICD), the wood-composite’s undulating concave panels incorporates clusters of intricate, floral-shaped outlets. these channels are in conversation with the surrounding environment, adjusting to changes in relative humidity. the climatic shifts trigger a silent, material-innate movement translated through the porosity of the medium, resulting in continual fluctuations of enclosure and illumination of the internal space.


the project behaves with the capacity of the material’s elasticity, neither requiring the supply of operational energy nor any kind of mechanical or electronic control. the material structure itself is the machine. its self-sufficient behavior opens up the possibility for ecologically embedded architecture that could be in constant communication with its surroundings. ‘hygroskin’ is commissioned by the FRAC centre orleans for its 9th edition of archilab 2013 ‘naturalizing architecture’ exhibition opening. the traveling pavilion will be exhibited for the first time on september 14, 2013.



hygroskin – FRAC centre orléans
video courtesy of ICD



the hygroskin pavillion, with its floral-shaped outlets in a closed state



close-up photo of hygroskin in closed state at high relative humidity



close-up photo in open state at low relative humidity



the kinetic scultpure in stadtgarten, stuttgart



(left) the wood-composite’s undulating exterior incorporates clusters of intricate apertures
(right) material-innate movement is translated through the porosity of the medium



the wooden panels at a completely open state



the interior of the structure, when its apertures are at a closed position


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