Achim Menges

HygroSkin, Meteorosensitive Pavilion, 2012

Composed of 28 wood panels prefabricated by a robot, this Meteorosensitive pavilion concludes five years of research on the reactivity of materials to weather variations. The wood is here combined with a composite material that amplifies its reaction to humidity according to a calculated replica of the material principles of the scales of pine cones: the presence of water in the grooves of the wood alters the distance between each microfibre – either dilating or tightening them – and triggers the opening or closing of the holes. This phenomenon corresponds to the “anisotropic” character and hygroscopic behaviour of wood: it takes the form of a continuous movement of absorption/desorption that will maintain the balance of the pavilion’s level of humidity. The latter is thereby physically programmed to produce differentiated spaces in terms of luminosity, ventilation or temperature. Architecture’s experimental and performative dimension is here inscribed in the very skin of the pavilion, which feels and reacts like a living organism.

Lucy Hofbauer

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