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Alive Spaces: Designing Shape-Changing Materials

  • Lecturers: Karmen Franinovic and  Florian Wille (teaching assistant)
Location: SQ5, ZHdK New kinds of responsive materials are active in themselves: they can self-illuminate (electroluminescent paper) or self-move (electroactive polymers). What do such materials want to do? What kinds of shapes and structures are possible? What applications?
We will explore the application of smart materials and their ability to transform space into responsive, adaptive products and environments. We will develop a speculative model for membrane structures that exhibit properties of sensitivity, resilience, and decay. By physically building active materials and engaging their behaviours, we experiment with the threshold between the electronic and mechanic, the analog and the digital. This course based on a do-it-yourself approach: rather than purchasing sophisticated active materials, students will make them ourselves and integrate them in a project.
This course in on a crossroads of industrial design, architecture and interaction design. Students will have a unique opportunity to work within "Emotive Environments" research project and collaborate with EMPA: Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology and ETH's Chair of CAAD. They will learn how to make active materials and incorporate them in different furniture and architecture concepts.
Axel Ritter, Smart Materials in Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, Birkhäuser Architecture, 2002. Michelle Addington and Daniel L. Schodek, Smart materials and new technologies for architecture and design professions. Elsevier, 2004.