I came across the oriental hornet in my research and that became the jumping off point for some sort of sun shading/solar collecting structure. Oriental hornets are more active during intense sunlight, as the yellow stripe across their abdomen is capable of harvesting the sun’s light and converting it into electricity. Pretty neat.
This could be applicable in a sun-shading device that is more “active” when the sun is the strongest and shade is desired (which also happens to be the most opportune time to capture solar rays), and less “active” at times when daylight is desired. This could have potential applications as a façade design for buildings looking to incorporate passive solar design. Marcella and I studied some “reactive membranes” for our digital tools presentation last semester (see images - aperture/flare facade), though in those applications the membranes were simply reactive and not responsive to solar conditions – maybe some opportunities there? Stepping away from buildings and towards a more unconventional application, I think the idea could be practical for structures over highways and parking lots where solar gain is problematic when the sun is at its strongest, though eliminating sunlight altogether is not ideal.
(Similar idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CThFRt95aI&feature=player_embedded)
Cool. But it was too soon to settle.
I started reading about hydrodynamics (sharks, whales, crazy fish), as I had no previous knowledge on the topic but thought it might be interesting. I saw the potential to use the power of shape to create a dynamic, efficient structure, but had a hard time thinking of a good out-of-water application (designing a boat isn’t really in the scope of this project…) Trying to keep program and site in mind as well, I thought it would be interesting to create a structure along the waterfront that was inspired by species found in the water…
No sparks. Had to let that one go too.
I moved on to the idea of a deployable structure, searching for things in nature that may serve as inspiration (working backwards? Should I not be admitting that?) Vince suggested I look in to sea anemones. I came across some interesting (and disgusting) stuff. Tube worms are a source of inspiration, as they emerge and retract in and out of their “tubes” (which house their vulnerable bodies) when they are hungry or disturbed. Initially I thought this may have an application as a structure that can emerge and retract as shelter for events over large spaces (ie. parks... Molson Amphitheater?) but I fear that simply mimicking the form is too far a stretch. I’m searching for a means of creating a stronger connection between the inspiration and the final product, but that has yet to be resolved. Suggestions?
p.s. Did you know there’s such thing as a Christmas Tree Worm!??'