The future of architecture lies in design that converts, flexes and adapts to changing needs, according to Texas A&M College of Architecture faculty Negar Kalantar and Alireza Borhani, who explored transformability as a design tool in iMOTION, an interactive exhibit at the Memorial Student Center’s J. Wayne Stark Galleries.
“Although we live in a universe of movement where nothing is fixed, we build rigid structures and expect them to be the same forever,” said Borhani.
iMOTION showcased beautiful and functional architectural designs, including an innovative building enclosure system that responds to environmental conditions. The system regulates transmitted light, ventilation and airflow with interwoven layers that create an intriguing and delicate visual display of patterns when they move and overlap.
The exhibit also showcased the pair’s evolving concepts of transformable architecture and how their design process unfolds in stages from tiny models to the fully finished moveable structures.
Borhani and Kalantar have created and taught transformable architecture for more than 17 years.
Kalantar leads the popular transSTUDIO, a transformable architecture class for environmental design undergraduate seniors, some of whose work is featured in iMOTION.
Her students created expanding small-scale prototypes for lightweight, collapsible pavilions that could be deployed at full scale to shade up to 400 square feet and fold efficiently to a fraction of their size. Conceived to replace giant tents, the portable, transformable structures expand to form artistic, architecturally intriguing canopies that allude to the complex mathematical calculations required to make them work.
Her students have also experimented with designing collapsible bridges for military use.
The exhibit’s motion sensors were installed with assistance from Dylan Shell, associate professor of computer science and Zach Kitowski, mechanical engineering student.