menu

Shape-Shifting Wall Creates Rooms That Seem To Breathe

Design

This mechanical wall creates a new concept of interior landscape that is not without function.

Rachel Pincus
  • 23 june 2014

It was arresting enough to think that the hills might have eyes, but in the eyes of architects Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger, the walls can breathe, too. Their ‘breathing wall,’ which was exhibited at a room full of innovative wall materials in Rem Koolhas’s Elements exhibition at the Venice Biennale this year, takes the idea of living architecture to a whole new level, creating a wall that mechanically undulates in and out across what the architects describe as “peaks and valleys.”

The layering of the gridded synthetic fabrics that create the wall also presents viewers with a moiré effect that continually shifts. Viewed from the side, you can even see both sides of the fabric skin simultaneously.

Kinetic-Wall-by-Barkow-Leibinger_dezeen_15_1000.gif

The architects refer to the structure as “a mechanical plenum produces a new kind of malleable poche – a material thickness.” A plenum is usually a chamber containing air, gas or liquid at positive pressure, or an empty chamber in a building meant to facilitate airflow. Could a structure like this one day modulate ventilation systems in buildings?

Kinetic-Wall-by-Barkow-Leibinger_dezeen_468_0.jpg

Frank Barkow explains that the project had some practical origins, and thus he did have some ‘green building’ initiatives in mind. “This project actually began with Chris Bangle, the former head of Group Design at BMW who we won an architectural competition for a new design and concept building from him in Munich,” he told us. “Chris had come up with an idea for a kinetic car (body and interior) called GINA.

Kinetic-Wall-by-Barkow-Leibinger_dezeen_468_2.jpg

“Chris and I ran this as a studio at Harvard GSD [Graduate School of Design] in 2008 using GINA as a method to articulate housing concepts that could react (change) to the environment (light, sun, wind etc) and to change programmatically (get bigger or smaller/change spatially).” It’s a fascinating concept, especially considering that buildings are often seen as being so immutable.

Kinetic-Wall-by-Barkow-Leibinger_dezeen_468_7.jpg

“The limited and changing width of the passage ensures an immediate, intimate, and corporal relationship with the viewer/visitor experientially,” said the architects. A lightweight timber scaffolding that houses the undulating mechanism takes up some additional room for the wall, but this also provides more depth within which you can stand next to the wall and feel its strangely curative rhythms. Next to its more archival and historical mates, it truly feels like the future.

Barkow Leibinger

[h/t] Dezeen

Design
Trending

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Yesterday

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Yesterday

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Building Tomorrow

See All
Mobile Yesterday

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Sabrina Caluori

Television, Social Media, Marketing

Syndicated Yesterday

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Yesterday

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Yesterday

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 28, 2016

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs september 29, 2016

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Yesterday

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Yesterday

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Yesterday

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Yesterday

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Mobile Yesterday

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Yesterday

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Yesterday

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.