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Rooms that take shape based on behaviour

Image Credit: University of New South Wales
Image Credit: University of New South Wales

Students from the Bachelor of Computational Design at the University of New South Wales Built Environment have designed an origami-style meeting room that can respond to the behaviour of the people.

The vision behind this project, done in collaboration with a top engineering firm, is to have rooms that learn human behaviour and change shape in response to that.

According to a recent report, the interactive Centaur Pod, once completed next year, will adapt to external environmental and human stimuli by moving up and down and changing its shape.

As of the moment, a human can be in the same space as a robot and can interact in that space with the robot. What the team wants, meanwhile, is make space itself become the robot.

This ‘robot’ will therefore sense the behaviour of a person when it moves, behaves, or operates in any way while inside the building.

It will start learning from this behaviour and the behaviour of others and will create knowledge from it. The knowledge, in turn, will translate into the space to change.

This initiative is very unique as there seems to be no other firms nor architecture at university that are looking at combining machine learning and kinetic architecture in the same way.

The biomimicry influenced kinetic pavilion is an exploration of interactive architecture and soft robotics.

The Computational Design students are designing, developing, documenting and fabricating the prototype with the engineering firm behind the Sydney Opera House, in the span of three semesters.

The real-world research project explores three main areas that will profoundly change the way architects design, develop and manufacture in the future: machine learning and artificial intelligence; digital fabrication and robot fabrication; and augmented reality and virtual reality.

The University is trying to push the boundaries of conventional architecture and design by exploring what machine learning, biomimicry or creative robotics have to offer for spatial design.

They will then use this knowledge as the seed to developing architectural design projects.

Digital fabrication and robot fabrication are being looked into as means to shape how buildings or structures are built.

The Centaur Pod pavilion becomes a case study or an experimental field where all of those ideas, through students, through academics, through the firm as an industry partner are tested.

From there, they will develop, evaluate, and discuss the outcomes and bring them into practice.

The approximately 6 – 9 square metre pavilion will be constructed next year and will initially be showcased at the firm’s Sydney office. It will then travel to the firm’s Melbourne and Brisbane offices.

It can also potentially travel internationally to office locations that include New York, Hong Kong, London, or Beijing.

This collaborative project may produce ideas that will find their way into architectural design on real buildings.

It is a perfect way to showcase the quality of the University’s Computational Design students since the firm is exposing the undergraduate student work to an international audience thereby showing what they can do.


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