Haptic House

Proposal for a private residence, Tokyo, Japan, 2007

Motion and architecture have been consciously linked since the beginning of the 20th Century, but not until recently has the notion of responsive movement been critically addressed. Historically, projects incorporating motion typically tend towards function and efficiency in that the justification for movement is in some way to serve the user. This research aims to shift the argument from validity of movement to the desire for responsiveness and behavior. We suggest that the historic fixedness of architecture has always relied heavily on static plan and parti for internal division and meaning. We wonder how this attitude may change if architecture were to embrace strategies in which motion and variability were favored over mass and anchorage.

To do this, this proposal investigates the potentials of Shape Memory Alloy (SMAs) metals that vary their dimension according to temperature, as a means for smooth, responsive locomotion within variable surfaces throughout the home.

The Haptic House responds to it's inhabitants in several ways. The first may be considered a "scripted" response, one in which the time of day and day of the year influences a particular action. Complimentary to this type of response, is the direct reactive response. In this mode, the architecture responds to real time actions and behaviors of the user. In this way, a room may activate and form itself from the ceiling when the home senses the proximity of the user.

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