DECEMBER 6, 2010


Inventor Chuck Hoberman spoke about his work in the field of Transformable Design. He started the talk by discussing one of his earliest installations, the Hoberman Sphere.

A few years later, he launched a line of toys focused around the now infamous object.

He went on to show how his work has evolved into a wide range of objects from stage installations for U2 to mechanisms that enhance building glazing performance such as his adaptive fritting and tessellate projects.

In 2008 Hoberman Associates teamed up with the engineering firm Buro Happold to form the Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI),  “dedicated to designing a new generation of buildings that optimize their configuration in real time by responding to environmental changes.”  http://www.adaptivebuildings.com/

The lecture was an extremely refreshing departure from the usual cautionary tales that cite such high-profile failures as the broken actuators on the sun-control diaphragms cladding Jean Nouvel’s 1988 Institute du Monde Arabe in Paris.  During Q&A, an audience member broached the subject of durability in architectural applications asking Chuck how his firm convinced clients that their work would continue to function. He responded that like other complex mechanical products such as cars, these systems would require maintenance and upkeep and are sold with a warranty and a service contract.

Hoberman’s Adaptive Buildings Initiative has launched a line of products they refer to as Intelligent Surfaces that is especially relevant to our line of research which is concentrated on locally responsive panelization. Both the Adaptive Fritting and Tesselate systems are based on a series of modules that rotate around a central pin to allow for varied levels of transparency.

More images and video on Tessellate here.

More images and video on Adaptive Fritting here.

Strata uses a series of telescoping fins that fan out of via rotating arm to create a solid surface that appears from a series of thin tubes.

More images and video on Strata here.

Perma is a similar system comprised of telescoping fins that can retract from a structural grid to form a solid surface.

More images and video on Perma here.