Remember the days in your childhood where you dreamed of sitting in the revolving restaurant your parents promised they would take you to? And your parents stuck to their promise just to see you happy! Even though the restaurant moved at an ultra-slow pace, the summer buffet just tasted extra special. There was just something so magical about getting a 360-degree view of the city, wasn’t it?
Well, imagine if houses and public places allowed you to experience just as much, but at a slightly faster pace! Wouldn’t that be amazing? Kinetic architecture does exactly the same!
Kinetic buildings can re-position parts of their construction to change the way they look, to great different usable space or to respond to environmental conditions. Technically, it is a concept that has been around for centuries. From bridges that open up to allow ships to pass through, right back to the first draw bridges that appeared on castles.
But in the present day, the major progress in mechanics, environmental systems, and robotics are pushing boundaries and providing new opportunities for creativity.
Here’s a Look at 3 Buildings That Have Smartly Incorporated Kinetic Elements into Their Design:
1. Al Bahar Towers
Abu Dhabi’s Al Bahar Towers features responsive facades that shade its glazing from the intense sunlight. The design team, Aedas Architects simulates how the facades would operate across all seasons in an imaginary environment before they are ready to be manufactured and installed. The façade’s form is inspired by a “mashrabiya”, a traditional Islamic lattice shading device. At 145 meters, the Al Bahar Towers are one of the world’s largest examples of kinetic elements in building.
2. Sharifi-ha House
The Sharifi-ha House, by architects Next Office – Alireza Taghaboni in Tehran features 3 rooms that can rotate 90 degrees. They block out the additional light to keep the house cool during Tehran’s intense summers. And move back into the original structures to keep the home warm during the winters. Each room has a door on the side that allows access to the terrace and to the house when the rooms are turned back inwards. The terrace’s balustrades have been engineered to lay flat as the pods turn inwards.
3. The SHED
Lead architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro teamed up with Rockwell Group design studio to build a cultural center at New York’s Hudson Yards. The structure’s new kinetic system includes a sled drive that moves the shell along a pair of 83-metre long rails. Deployment takes 5 minutes and doubles the venue’s size, turning the adjoining plaza into an event space.
The 120-foot tall movable shell is made of an exposed steel diagrid frame, cushioned in translucent, yet strong Teflon-based polymer. Keeping in mind an energy-conscious design, The Shed uses a radiant heating system and a changeable forced air heating and cooling system when the space is occupied. The building exceeds New York’s energy codes by 25%, which is a requirement for all new buildings in the city.
The Shed’s kinetic system takes inspiration from the industrial past of the West Side Rail Yard and the High Line. Just like gantry cranes found in shipping ports and railways systems, The Shed incorporates a sled drive on top of the base building and bogie wheels steered by a pair of 273-foot long rails on the Plaza level.
A proactive step towards smart architectural designs that not only benefit its inhabitants but also the environment has brought kinetic architecture to the forefront. And some of the world’s leading architects are continuously striving to create many such architectural marvels. These fantastic buildings inspire and motivate architecture firms around the world to explore and apply their creations in vast expanse.
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