Toward adaptive architectural skins: Designing temperature-responsive curvilinear surfaces Conference Paper uri icon


  • © 2018 and published by the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA) in Hong Kong. This research investigated the possibility of creating adaptable and precise curvilinear surfaces through the deformation of flat wooden surfaces. A prototype design system was developed to accomplish this task. The goal was to take a commonly-used architectural material, which is valued for its environmental sustainability and its aesthetic qualities, and to re-conceptualize it for use in cutting-edge adaptive digital designs. We therefore sought to develop a way to create wooden surfaces that could predictably transform in response to environmental stimuli. We successfully developed and tested the reversible deformation of a wooden surface by laminating a shape-memory polymer onto a kerfed wooden plane. The composite obtains its responsiveness from the shape-memory polymer, and its curvature direction and structural stability from the kerfed wood. The composite is able to deform to a defined curvilinear surface when heated to 40-60 degrees Celsius, and then self-transform back to the original flat surface when cooled. In addition to demonstrating kinetic behavior for a wood-based composite, the prototype offers a practical technique that can be used by designers to create flexible, inexpensive fabrication and packaging strategies.

author list (cited authors)

  • Mansoori, M., Kalantar, N., Creasy, T., & Rybkowski, Z.

publication date

  • January 2018