By Ken Howder
Solar gain has long been an issue within the architecture field. The orientation of a building has been deemed the easiest and most ideal way to solve radiation issues. We orient a window toward the southern light when we need more heat gain within a building, but during hot summer days in temperate climates, we are forced to cover these windows with reflective materials, awnings, and other shading devices. What if a building could rotate, based on the amount of solar radiation combined with the current indoor temperature, to a degree of optimal solar radiation for the desired efficiency?
This introduces a somewhat new concept in the field: Evolution and adaptation in the built environment. Due to the ever-increasing amount of problems that architects and engineers run into while working in the field, using smart technology and sensor capabilities may help to deter some of the problems that arise in and beyond the planning phase for a building or project. With factors such as climate change, adaptable architecture can become a necessity over the course of a buildings lifetime.
Through dynamic architecture, a new form of bio mimicry may also arise. Architecture that can adapt to its surroundings. Specifically in the form of smart facades that can act as a more defensive skin to a building – smart facades that use sensors to open or close shading devices, possibly move insulation to needed walls, and open tunnels to reduce wind loads. This form of dynamics in buildings can act in the form of artificially intelligent bio design. However, the limit to this idea does not end outside of the building – interior sensors can pick up cues to the inhabitants comfort levels. For example, when a person sleeps, their heart rate lowers. With a sensitive enough sensor located near the inhabitants resting area, the building can determine whether or not someone is asleep and make adjustments to the interior environment for optimal sleeping conditions.