Innovation That Matters

Weiguo Xu, Tsinghua University School of Architecture | Photo source Operable Interactive Village Hut

Energy-efficient building changes shape based on weather

Architecture & Design

A unique design allows a building to open and close depending on the weather

Spotted: A team from the Tsinghua University School of Architecture has built a tourist reception centre that opens and closes to adapt to changes in the weather. The structure is located in Wujiazhuang, an area that will play host to the 2022 Olympics. The centre is made up of 16 irregularly-shaped concrete panels attached to a steel-pipe frame. Three of the panels open and close automatically in response to changes in temperature.

Sensors collect environmental information, and the panels are opened and closed using a system of hydraulics. When the external temperature reaches 16°C, three of the panels open up, providing ventilation. The panels close again when the temperature drops below 16°C, and a heating system turns on. In temperatures above 29°C, the panels also close, and an air conditioner cools the space.

The building’s panels are covered in a mixture of rammed earth and grass, which is commonly used in the region to provide natural heating and cooling. The shape of the structure, named the “operable interactive village hut,” is designed to match the mountains in the region.

The team responsible for the structure was led by Weiguo Xu, and was earlier responsible for developing a 3D-printed bridge.



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