Projects


Fungal Bioplastics

  • What it is: Strong polymer sheets made of a fungus that dissolves in salt water and rainwater.
  • Why it matters: A strong plastic that is biodegradable and can dissolve might be useful for a range of short-lived applications in architecture and industrial design. The bioplastic is transparent, but can be colored with beets, turmeric, or other natural ingredients. We’ve also discovered that the material can be strategically structured to flex on its own as it dissolves, causing it to move in water.
  • Find out more

 

Signals Art Pavilion

  • What it is: A crosswalk signal that has been hacked to broadcast video art.
  • Why it matters: The work represents a commitment to the arts by becoming an integral part of the very infrastructure that supports life and movement in the city.
  • Find out more

 

Wind Forest

  • What it is: Art that generates wind power for approximately 300 homes.
  • Why it matters: Located at the Port Dundas regeneration site in the north of Glasgow, the project will provide both a striking community focal point, as well as a source of green electricity for the new community. Our collaborators on the project are Dalziel + ScullionQmulus Ltd., and ZM Architecture.
  • Find out more

 

BLOOM

  • What it is: A smart, shape-shifting textile surface for acoustic modulation.
  • Why it matters: Many interior environments are still exceptionally loud, despite their impact on our health. This collaboration with Jsssjs Product Design and WickesWerks LLC produced a knitted origami cloud that unfolds to provide sound attenuation when needed.
  • Find out more

 

BioBench

  • What it is: Biodegradable landscape furniture that emits light and is made of photoluminescent bioplastics.
  • Why it matters: This collaboration with industrial designer Danielle Storm Hoogland produced a portable seat that absorbs sunlight during the day and emits visible light for way-finding at night. The project was an opportunity for us to further advance and test the bioplastic smart materials we’ve been developing.

 

HAIO Patient Room Challenge

  • What it is: A research project in collaboration with NBBJ that examined how innovations in design, the use of materials, cleaning, and other considerations, can provide a measurable reduction in the amount of bacteria in an inpatient room.
  • Why it matters: Environmental contamination significantly increases healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), a major cause of patient mortality and morbidity. Infections are promoted by airborne diseases, and by patients and healthcare workers coming into direct contact with each other and contaminated surfaces. Hence, we lent our advanced antimicrobial materials expertise to this new vision of hospital patient rooms that combat HAIs.

 

Disaster Go Bag

  • What it is: A new type of Go Bag for citizens that need to evacuate their community during disasters.
  • Why it matters: The project focuses on using smart materials and nanomaterials as a new approach to providing clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, warmth, light, power, alerts, and other services to users. Clearly, beyond event preparedness, this Go Bag might also be useful for direct deployment to victims during the relief efforts that follow disasters.
  • Find out more

 

BLISS : Better Living through Intuitive Soft Surveillance

  • What it is: A proposal for a new architectural competition that asks one of the most important questions of our time, and identifies the agent that should support it.
  • Why it matters: The proposal asks architects to examine the implications of future urban surveillance systems that make use of Micro Air Vehicles, commonly called drones, and to demonstrate how their integration into the built environment might strike a reasonable balance between our interests in security and our values of privacy.
  • Find out more

 

Bioplastics

  • What it is: Using triglycerides, connective peptides and proteins, and natural fiber to make a strong polymer that rapidly decays in soil.
  • Why it matters: A strong plastic material that is made with biomaterials and is biodegradable might be useful for a range of short-lived applications in architecture and design. The bioplastic is extraordinarily resistant to solvents that would dissolve other forms of plastic, such as acetone and tetrahydrofuran, but dissolves when buried.
  • Find out more

 

GERM Fresh

  • What it is: Funded by a RISD Research Bridge Grant, this research project produced concepts for a new, controllable means of introducing plant-treated “fresh” air into highly regulated hospital environments. The work was undertaken at Yeadon Space Agency in New York City.
  • Why it matters: Mechanical systems in healthcare environments gather and redistribute microbes, causing a greater concentration of potential pathogens than one would find in patient rooms with open windows. Our redesign of a conventional supply air diffuser permits air to circulate through plants within the diffuser, and enter into the room; or, alternatively, the air flow can be diverted away from the plants and delivered into the room as purely mechanical air. A proportioned mixture of the two is also possible.
  • Find out more

 

The Flattest Place on Earth

  • What it is: An initiative to create the absolute flattest place on Earth.
  • Why it matters: Art always matters. Plus, it’ll demonstrate warped relationships between space-time, mass, and gravity.
  • Find out more

 

Biomolecular Sensor System

  • What it is: The invention of a new kind of device for detecting harmful agents in drinking water, and the environment that surrounds us.
  • Why it matters: Biomolecules that are highly selective and highly sensitive to target agents can be used to quickly, and reliably, warn of  toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

 

GeriHips®

  • What it is: Yeadon Space Agency, Prevent Products, and Viemeister Industries have partnered to introduce a new hip protection product to the market. The product features a proprietary polymer foam, called PPI-RAP™, which rapidly absorbs impact shock.
  • Why it matters: More than 340,000 Americans break a hip every year, with residents of nursing homes experiencing some of the highest rates of falls. This product significantly lessens direct impact to the greater trochanter (hip bone), which cause hip fractures.
  • Find out more

 

Printable Nanosensors

  • What it is: Sensors that can indicate when a material is experiencing deformation.
  • Why it matters: Advancements in responsive products and environments will increasingly require lightweight, flexible, electrical networks with remote, ubiquitous sensing.
  • Find out more

 

tRender

  • What it is: The research and development of large smart material surfaces that change color on demand.
  • Why it matters: From thermal energy management to new forms of fashion and communication, there are a vast assortment of applications in architecture and design for components and surfaces that can change color.

 

Blink

  • What it is: Exploring solar shading systems that are enabled by shape-shifting polymorphic smart materials.
  • Why it matters: Responsive facade systems that can dynamically mediate between interior and exterior conditions will help us increase energy conservation.

 

Electrically Conductive NanoINK

  • What it is: A black ink that is made with carbon nanotubes, bonds to various substrates, and can conduct electricity.
  • Why it matters: The ink opens up all kinds of opportunities for applications that need flexible electrical networks that can easily be printed using conventional printers.
  • Find out more

 

Carbon Nanotube Materials

  • What it is: The synthesis of strong, flexible composites that are made with carbon nanotubes and can conduct electricity.
  • Why it matters: Advancements in responsive products and environments will increasingly require lightweight, flexible, electrical networks with power storage capabilities.

 

Barneys New York

  • What it is: Large smart material display surfaces that change color at the Barneys New York flagship store on Madison Avenue.
  • Why it matters: This collaboration with Patten Studio was an opportunity for us to demonstrate our experience with various thermochromic compounds and composites.
  • Find out more

 

RISD GD 2016

  • What it is: A new vision for the Graphic Design graduate program studio at the Rhode Island School of Design.
  • Why it matters: Working with faculty and students, we’re thinking about how knowledge creation is successfully pursued in the 21st Century and the architectural informalities that might encourage that quest.

 

RISE: The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial

  • What it is: A proposal for a levitating memorial that commemorates the 2010 Canterbury earthquakes, and recognizes the remarkable strength and resilience of this devastated community.
  • Why it matters: The unprecedented design features a large, ruptured monolith that levitates above the surface of the Ōtākaro/Avon River. Concealed electromagnets support this seemingly weightless mass above the surface of the river, while its bright fissure of quantum dots become more vivid at night.
  • Find out more