NGAN PHAN, MArch

An Architectural Dialogue Between Light and Form



In the era of ubiquitous technology, a new versatile architecture must emerge to accommodate both physical and digital change. The convergence of these two domains requires architectural forms to respond to increasingly diverse mechanisms of multi-functionality and variability. One such technology with the potential for these enhanced qualities in architecture is pneumatics: insulating, lightweight, inflatable and collapsible structures. Early pneumatic architecture with high translucent cladding membranes has surpassed traditional double skin facade in structural and environmental aspects, yet it ultimately failed to attend to the dominant by-product issues produced by the glass envelopes, including glare, and visual imbalance due to the lack of translucent variability.





This thesis applies the morphological adaptation to sunlight of the leaf epidermis and the luminous moss to address the daylighting design issues. Under changes of surface tension when varying the inflation of their cells, the elastic material of these organisms drives the transparency fluctuation responsively to sunlight. Around the central biomimetic tenet, pneumatic architecture forms evolve from a single unit to a responsive aggregation of subdivided cells, which can interpret daylight levels to regulate transparency while maintaining the integrity of its organic envelope. The design process takes into consideration the locality and materiality through daylight analyses and physical prototyping to investigate the possibilities of the new architectural form, in the context of a medium-scale and deep-floor-plan office. As a result, the dialogue between light and form retrofits the performance qualities of a traditional glass facade and improves user experience.







In the era of ubiquitous technology, a new versatile architecture must emerge to accommodate both physical and digital change.





Ryerson Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.