Beakerhead Jason Johnson Kailey O'Farrell Kevin Spaans Max Senini

MYRTLE – Beakerhead 2014

Date: 2014
Client: Beakerhead
Principal Investigator: Jason S. Johnson
Collaborators: Craig Leblanc, Nathan Tremblay
Project Budget: $6000
Research Assistants: Kevin Spaans, Kailey O’Farrell, Max Senini
Funding Agencies: Beakerhead

Project Developed as a small pavilion for the 2014 Beakerhead Festival.

Andrea Patry Kevin Spaans Matthew Parker Vera Parlac

Soft Agile Spaces

Date: 2014
Client: n/a
Principal Investigator: Vera Parlac
Collaborators: n/a
Project Budget: Withheld
Research Assistants/ Project Team: Matt Parker,
Andrea Patry, Kevin Spaans
Sponsors: University of Calgary Seed Grant
Publications:  “Material as Mechanism in Agile Spaces”, in B.Kolarevic and V. Parlac Building Dynamics: Exploring Architecture of Change, United States, Routledge, June 2015

Project Description: Soft Agile Spaces project relies on non-mechanical material-based actuation using shape memory alloy springs (SMA) that are integrated into the structural lattice of the surfaces. The movement resulting from the material-based actuation of the lattice is augmented by an inflatable soft robot surface that extends the lattice system. The network of sensors distributed throughout the surface serves to enable information exchange between the surface, environment, and people. The Soft Agile Space project proposes an adaptable and responsive building envelope capable of sensing its environment and responding to it by changing its shape or revealing small occupiable spaces to passers-by. These spaces can provide shelter or mediate the temperature of the environment, making public spaces in harsh, cold climates more vibrant.


The “intelligence” of the surface’s physical environment is capable of incorporating climate and human-related conditions into its working. By sensing the environmental temperature, the surface can mediate between the internal and external environments.


Beth Tzedec Jason Johnson Kevin Spaans Kurtis Nishiyama Mahdiar Ghaffarian Michael Ting

Sukkah 2013:

Date: 2013
Client: Beth Tzedec Congregation, Calgary
Principal Investigator: Jason Johnson
Collaborator: Shaul Osadchey
Project Budget: $6000
Project Design/Build Team: Mahdiar Ghaffarian, Micheal Ting (Design & Fabrication) Kurtis Nishiyama, Kevin Spaans (Fabrication)
Funding Agencies: Beth Tzedec Congregation

Each year since 2012 a team of students has worked with the Beth Tzedec Congregation to design and build a sukkah.  A sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. Students spend a semester designing an building the project in consultation with local Rabbi Shaul Osadchey.  These projects are part of a series of projects that seek out local communities interested in supporting design research in the area of computation and digital fabrication techniques.

This proposal imagines the sukkah as a canyon in the desert and articulates the layering sandstone through a variably spaced series of horizontal planes.  The carved out space allows for inhabiting the sukkah which provides temporary shelter.