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Water Sensitive Architectural Surface

Updated: May 27, 2018

Inspired by hydro-sensitivity of pine cones, Water Sensitive Architectural Surface responds to changes in humidity levels by its wood laminate material capacity.

Chao Chen developed a wood laminate cladding that similarly bends and flexes in response to atmospheric humidity, soil moisture or rain just like pine cones. Pine cone are hydro-sensitive which they open and close depending upon their exposure to water.

Applications for the technology include shelters that seal up when it rains and building cladding that opens to let in more light on a dull, drizzly day but closes to block out heat when the weather is hot and dry. Chen's inspiration for the Water Reaction Project grew from his past observations of pine cones: the cones are open when they are dry, but close up in the presence of water to prevent their seeds from rotting.

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