Phototropia is part of an ongoing series on the application of smart materials in an architectural context and was realized in April 2012 by the Master of Advanced Studies class at the Chair for CAAD. The project combines self-made electro-active polymers, screen-printed electroluminescent displays, eco-friendly bioplastics and thin-film dye-sensitized solar cells into an autonomous installation that produces its required energy from sunlight and - when charged - responds to user presence through moving and illuminating elements.
The project “HygroScope - Meteorosensitive Morphology” by Achim Menges in collaboration with Steffen Reichert explores a novel mode of responsive architecture based on the combination of material inherent behaviour and computational morphogenesis. The dimensional instability of wood in relation to moisture content is employed to construct a climate responsive architectural morphology. Suspended within a humidity controlled glass case the model opens and closes in response to climate changes with no need for any technical equipment or energy. Mere fluctuations in relative humidity trigger the silent movement. The material structure itself is the machine.
The project was commissioned by the Centre Pompidou Paris for its permanent collection and will be first shown in the exhibition “Multiversites Creatives” starting on 2nd of May 2012.