Agile Spaces

Date: 2013
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: Matt Parker
Sponsors: University of Calgary Seed Grant
Publications: “Agile Spaces” published in the Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA): Adaptive Architecture, University of Waterloo, Cambridge, Ontario, 2013
Agile Spaces/ Iconic/ SKiN“, Responsive Architecture Research Team V. Parlac and B. Kolarevic, in Facing the Future, Exhibition Book, 2nd International Scientific Conference and Exhibition, Gallery of Science and Technology, Belgrade, Serbia, 2014

The backbone of this project is a kinetic material system actuated by shape memory alloy (SMA) springs. The material system is developed both as a physical and digital prototype. Its behavior is examined at a physical level and the findings are used to digitally simulate behavior of the larger system. The system utilizes a lattice structure and its structural behavior. It relies on elastic deformation of the constituent members, which allows the forces of bending to be distributed along a wider region of the surface. The system becomes kinetic when the SMA spring actuators are activated. Activation of the springs introduces tension into the lattice members that causes change in the geometry of the lattice cells. The result of this is bending of the wider region of the surface. The lattice can be actuated in the lower or upper zone. Depending on the zone of actuation the lattice deforms and moves upwards or downwards. The contraction of the SMA spring produces a tension in the middle layer of the lattice, which manifests through the deformation of the cell structure, bending an entire region of the lattice. Strategic placement of the actuators across the lattice produces accumulated bending effect and deforms the entire surface.