Design

Digital Carpet

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Digital Carpet interactive floor, shown mapping as well as projecting one’s walking path.

Digital Carpet responds to individual presence and assists with visitor way finding.

Interactive displays, directional signage, and lighting are often located on walls or ceilings—but rarely are they incorporated within the floor. The Digital Carpet is a responsive, self-illuminating walking surface designed to monitor pedestrian traffic and light one’s path in dimly-lit conditions. The carpet incorporates conductive thread, pressure-sensitive piezoelectric film, and embedded LEDs. A custom software algorithm tracks pedestrian walking speed and direction, and projects potential future paths by illuminating the floor ahead—taking into account multiple routes, open doorways, and heavier circulation zones. The floor may also be linked to a visitor’s personal GPS route for building interior navigation. In this case, the floor becomes the map. [...]

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Synthetic Bark

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Synthetic Bark cladding system, shown in recycled stainless steel.

Synthetic Bark translates the function and form of tree bark into high-performance architectural cladding.

Bark provides multiple functions to trees, including thermal insulation and physical protection from vermin and fires (in the case of thick bark). Outer bark, which is made of mostly dead tissues of the tree, is characterized by many folds and veins, and therefore exhibits a large surface area when compared with a flat material of the same size. [...]

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Suspended Flow

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Suspended Flow ceiling system, shown within a gallery space.

The last place one expects water to be is suspended overhead.

Conventional ceilings are just that—conventional. Suspended Flow is a ceiling system designed to appear as gently turbulent water that is magically frozen in place. Made from thermoformed recycled acrylic, the translucent ceiling has polished edges that naturally reflect ambient light, and the system may be backlit with programmable LEDs of various intensities and colors. Suspended Flow is clearly a tongue-in-cheek design; however, it is also intended to bring psychological benefits: although users recognize that the ceiling cannot be made of actual water, the visual suggestion of a flowing river has the capacity to relax and cool building occupants. [...]

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Visiwall

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Visiwall facade system, shown applied as a retrofit to a historic building.

Visiwall is an OLED cladding system that transforms the communicative potential of the architectural facade.

One of the most significant advances in lighting and display applications is the development of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, which consists of emissive electroluminescent film on a planar substrate. OLEDs are used for both solid state lighting as well as monitors and mobile electronic device screens, and have been developed more recently as illuminating window films in vehicles and buildings. [...]

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Terrafloor

The Terrafloor system, shown installed in a public reading room.
The Terrafloor system, shown installed in a public reading room.

The Terrafloor is a living floor system designed for interior use.

First there were green roofs, and then green walls. Why not green floors? Sophisticated grass and moss ground cover systems are widely available, and increased interest in interior greenery is encouraging the development of indoor applications of these systems. Inspired by terraced farming and sloped hillsides, the Terrafloor enables the construction of interior ground plantings that negotiate sectional changes within buildings—thus providing landscaped stairs, seating, or lounge areas. Integral water delivery and concealed reinforcing pavers ensure a long life for plantings, which have been genetically modified to tolerate shade and resist frequent traffic. [...]

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Shimmer House

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The Shimmer House is an interior retrofit that maximizes available light and views.

Reflective materials transform a seaside condominium into a light-harvesting space.

A 1960s-era condominium located on the seashore in northwest Florida offers an advantageous location with impeccable vistas of the Gulf of Mexico. However, the main living space is supplied with only two small windows and a sliding door, thus limiting access to available light and views. [...]

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Algae Tube Facade

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The Algae Tube Facade system is a solar-regulating, ventilated envelope.

The Algae Tube Facade regulates solar exposure with living microbes.

Algal blooms create deleterious environmental effects for underwater life because they block vital sunlight and reduce the level of oxygen available to fish. Algae are incredibly beneficial, however, as a source of biomass for fuel and food. They also consume CO2, purify water, and may be used as an energy supply that does not compete with agriculture. [...]

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House Wrap

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House Wrap fabric envelope re-cladding system, shown before and after installation.

House Wrap radically transforms existing buildings with minimal materials.

According to planning expert Arthur C. Nelson, over half of new U.S. building construction expected to occur by 2040 will consist of retrofits to existing structures. Considering the relatively short life span and aesthetic limitations of most spec-built single family homes, the anticipated construction upgrades for this building type will be significant. [...]

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Pipe Light

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Pipe Light micro mirror duct illumination system, shown installed as a sculptural feature light.

Pipe Light transforms used PVC piping and fittings into a light conveyor system.

PVC is third most widely consumed plastic today, and is heavily used in building construction due to its low price and relative longevity compared with many other materials. Over half of PVC is used to manufacture pipes—accounting for two-thirds of water distribution pipes and 75% of sanitary sewer pipes in the U.S. Unfortunately, PVC is not yet widely recycled, suggesting that alternative uses for these pipes must be found after they have outlived their initial lives. [...]

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New Sod House

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Engineered sod blocks comprise part of the enclosure of the New Sod House.

Sod brick construction of early homesteads is re-imagined as a contemporary wall system.

Sod was a typical building material used by early settlers of the American midwest. The densely-packed roots of buffalo or prairie cord grass provided good reinforcing for sod bricks, which were first cut by hand and then by plow starting in the 1880s. Sod bricks were stacked root-side up so that, as the roots continued to grow, each brick would connect with the one above it. The result was a very strong wall that required minimal or no grouting. [...]

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