KINETIC ARCHITECTURE IS THE DESIGN OF BUIULDINGS WHICH CAN CHANGE SHAPE, EITHER TO MEET PRE-ESTABLISHED ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS OR SPECIAL FUNCTIONAL OR DECORATIVE PURPOSES. KINETIC BUILDINGS CAN BE DESIGNED TO BE EITHER FULLY AUTOMATED AND SELF-ACTUATING - AUTOKINETIC -OR DEMAND-RESPONSIVE, AS CONDITIONS REQUIRE.

 

It is now possible to create buildings for different purposes and functions which can change morphologically in response to a shifting set of environmental conditions of microclimate, temperature and precipitation for instance, daily as well as seasonally. These can be created from a uniform kit of parts, much the same as any other building, arranged to create similar but different outcomes, depending on the building’s purposes and needs.

 

The rationale for creating kinetic buildings is to respond to changing environmental conditions by altering buildings themselves, rather than relying on energy poured into mechanical systems to control comfort conditions within a fixed perimeter. The idea is not new. Several contemporary athletic stadia have moveable roofs to respond to seasonal conditions. The ancient Coliseum in Rome had a partially movable roof 3,000 years ago, [energy supplied by the Imperial Navy] to shade people from the sun.

 

What has changed is that industrial technology, combined with renewable energy sources, can make it economical for relatively small buildings to kinetically respond to environmental changes, as an alternative to relying solely on mechanical comfort engineering systems. By making some of the movable parts themselves energy producers, say with photovoltaics, they can provide their own energy for movement, and allow the improved, less energy- demanding environmental conditions the kinetic movement has created in to take effect.   

 

To make this viable, it is necessary to develop a flexible “kit of [moveable] parts” which can be applied to different building types and individual projects with similar demands and characteristics, avoiding the complexity and expense of custom-designing a unique kit of parts for each building. Historically, both the employment of a uniform kit of parts – steel studs and joists, for example – and their applicability to a wide variety of building projects - has been a well established practice in the history of building construction, long before the industrial era.  

 

Attached are examples of how two projects – a metropolitan transit system station, in its several iterations – and a resort restaurant which must expand and contract seasonally – as two examples of seemingly unrelated building types which can share a uniform kit of parts. The rationale for creating kinetic buildings is to respond to changing environmental conditions by altering buildings themselves, rather than relying on energy poured into mechanical systems to control comfort conditions within a fixed perimeter. The idea is not new. Several contemporary athletic stadia have moveable roofs to respond to seasonal conditions. The ancient Coliseum in Rome had a partially movable roof 3,000 years ago, [energy supplied by the Imperial Navy] to shade people from the sun.

 

What has changed is that industrial technology, combined with renewable energy sources, can make it economical for relatively small buildings to kinetically respond to environmental changes, as an alternative to relying solely on mechanical comfort engineering systems. By making some of the movable parts themselves energy producers, say with photovoltaics, they can provide their own energy for movement, and allow the improved, less energy- demanding environmental conditions the kinetic movement has created in to take effect.   

 

To make this viable, it is necessary to develop a flexible “kit of [moveable] parts” which can be applied to different building types and individual projects with similar demands and characteristics, avoiding the complexity and expense of custom-designing a unique kit of parts for each building. Historically, both the employment of a uniform kit of parts – steel studs and joists, for example – and their applicability to a wide variety of building projects - has been a well established practice in the history of building construction, long before the industrial era.  

 

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