FOLDING MODEL / EXPERIMENT THREE
For our third experiment, we explored the folded facade system that is thermally activated. Through our research, we were initially intrigued by the inherent memory a folded surface retains. Allowing a flat surface to start folding back into its previous creased form. Inspired by the work of a self-assembly lab out of MIT, we wanted to pursue a hands-free folding system that could self contract when acted on by an autonomous activator such as heat. In our project, we chose to pursue a heat-activated membrane. The material used was a Polystyrene sheet (aka Shrinky Dink); the membrane is flexible with the sheet before activation and then stiffened when heated, transforming a 2d folded sheet to a 3d structure.
The system applies to various architectural instances. As material reacts to heat, the module shrinks about 40% of its original size while thickening to structural rigidity. Taking advantage of this transformation, we explored a facade system that acts as a shading device, potentially reacting to the surrounding thermal environment. The plan would require a secondary tracking system to suspend each module and allow its full rotation and movement to the entire contract and become more permeable. The heat-activated membrane would need to face out towards the sun, making the visibility from the outside adaptable and allowing the texture of the facade to face inwards, allowing for occupants to see the transitioning rigid forms. The shading system can be imagined at the small-scale tile-like screens as rendered or could also work on a much larger scale.