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Designing Amid Internet of Things

Current advancements in information technology and mechanical components offer incredible new possibilities for innovation in architecture. Many aspects of our physical environment are becoming integrated with information systems, a phenomenon that has been referred to as the ``Internet of Things.'' The implications and applications of this technology are far-reaching, and students who are learning about design in today's environment have a bewildering array of new tools available for their exploration. This paper reviews some of the central concepts of contemporary data-driven design, and describes how these concepts can be used in a pedagogical framework to encourage student innovation. The authors provide details about their work with students in IDR Studios, and highlight some of the innovative design solutions created by students using information-based toolsets. This research provides a pedagogical framework for helping design students to engage with new technological resources as they work to develop the architectural intelligence. 

Phase 1: Understanding the Internet of Things
Phase 2: Exploring the Adaptive Systems
Phase 3: Creating Data-Based Scenarios 


Oliver Walter 

This building is aware of the constant fluctuation of population and climate. Using real-time data to inform and reshape the structure and skin of the building, this new addi- tion to the university campus is able to accommodate a variety of event types and sizes, while also adapt- ing to the ever-changing urban conditions of pedes- trian circulation. Using a hydraulic piston system, the columns and beams of the building work as a cohe- sive network with the ability to move in multiple vec- tors, allowing for different possibilities of form and function. At the same time, a building facade com- posed of rotating panels has the ability to respond to ever-changing weather patterns and occupant circu- lation. The facade provides shade and shelter from the elements while also becoming a kind of inter- active display as it adjusts to the environment and the movement of the building’s occupants. Incorporating weather and population data into its calcu- lations, the space continuously changes to suit the users’ needs. 


Mohammad Mahouk, Katy Fontana

This building is an adaptive structure that adjusts to its users’ needs based on real-time environmental and human data. The entire structure expands and contracts so that it is more energy-efficient when its full expanse is not needed. By processing information supplied by its users and the surrounding environment, the build- ing, as an active agent decides how to best adjust its walls, structure, openings, exteriors, and interiors. The design incorporates curvilinear-oval and curved triangle patterns that are reflective of the surround- ing environment and nearby river. These elements of the surroundings are also made visible through the generous use of glass construction. The furnishings are curvilinear as well, and are designed to be moveable to accommodate the changing form of the structure. The interior spaces respond primar- ily to human activities and input, whereas the exte- rior form responds primarily to environmental conditions, including the temperature, time of day, and weather. The structure creates a visually and intellectually compelling mixed-use space that meets all zoning requirements and encourages visitors to en- gage with students and the local community. While the ground floor is oriented according to the city grid, the upper floor’s primary alignment is to local wind patterns, allowing for natural ventilation.


Evan Yock, Jess Small 

This is an adaptive building that responds to solar radiation, human activity, and contemporary energy needs. It interactively connects the history of the site to a forward-looking and inspirational environmental ethic. The preservation of history is expressed through permanent gallery installations that help visitors learn about the natural and human setting that they are a part of, including the vision of the facility and its use of reclaimed materials. The environ- mental ethic is also expressed by incorporating an eco-space and natural light-well within the heart of the building, allowing students and visitors to interact and relax in contact with nature. 

Credited to IDR Studios

Instructors: Saleh Kalantari, Mona Ghandi 

Year: 2015

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