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HygroSkin Sculpture Installation Mimics Real Skin

Interactive designers in Germany draw attention to environmental dangers via "breathable" pavilion.

by Bogar Alonso
11 September 2013, 3:01pm

As we all know, Earth is undergoing a critical climatic change. While the population at large seems complacent maintaining the status quo, those more forward-thinking have been actively pursuing new ways to address this urgent situation. One of the first steps we can all take involves resolving to treat our environment as an interface, one that requires the same interest we often reserve for our smart devices.

Meet the HygroSkin.

Designed at The Institute for Computational Design (ICD), part of the University of Stuttgart in Germany, the above pavilion structure responds to changes in its surrounding climate by way of its "skin." Mimicking the way real skin reacts to shifts in temperature, the wood-composite material is able to respond to fluctuations in humidity, as best illustrated through the opening and closing of its flower-shaped apertures.

Developed by architect Achim Menges (responsible for this fascinating HygroScope), David Krieg, Steffen Reichert, and a slew of other bright minds, the HygroSkin is a marvel of architecture, and a vivid reminder of the dynamism of the natural world. Conceptualized as a no-tech structure, the pavilion was designed with a biological framework in mind.

Though robotic arms were used to construct components of the project, its mechanical capabilities are rooted in the plant world.

Just as spruce cones innately engage and interact with environmental stimuli, the meteorosensitive pavilion draws its power from itself—making it not just an environmentally-friendly system but also an environmentally-derived one. 

The HygroSkin’s feedback exchange with its surroundings, while beautiful to look at, is also a practical way to let our own man-made structures remind us of the the power and importance of natural forces.

Commissioned by the FRAC Centre Orleans for its ArchiLab 2013 – Naturalizing Architecture opening, HygroSkin - Meteorosensitive Pavilion will be on exhibition for the first time on September 14, 2013.

Interactive design
Cool Science