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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Adaptive Envelopes

Backs of man and woman adjusting blades of responsive, architectural window shade, with areas of bright sunlight shining through engineered gaps.

Adaptive Envelopes for a Changing Climate

The project is a responsive building façade system featuring screens made of smart and bistable materials, which are located inside a building’s windows, that open and close based on the weather conditions and lighting outside, as well as the indoor lighting and climate requirements.

Since buildings in the United States account for around 40% of total energy consumption, adaptive buildings can better satisfy the needs of those who use the buildings while also consuming less energy and material resources.

Faculty and student researchers from the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing in the College of Arts and Architecture, the Convergence Center for Living Multifunctional Systems in the College of Engineering and the Materials Research Institute collaborated to design this adaptive architecture project, which lets in or blocks sunlight to regulate the internal building temperature while consuming less energy.

The kinetic materials used by the team in the screens have not yet been used in building shading design.

José Pinto Duarte Stuckeman Chair in Design Innovation; Director, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing Learn More