Decker Yeadon’s Homeostatic Facade System

Decker Yeadon, a studio out of New York City, has devised a beautiful contemporary double-skin glass facade system for large buildings. Whereas the current model of curtain wall double skins has a simple air cavity embedded with louvers, this system hosts an advanced shading system that includes mechanisms modeled after muscles enabling the system to automatically regulate heat loss and heat gain. Amazing project!

Homeostasis is the natural phenomena in plant or animal organisms wherein they constantly regulate their internal conditions through any number of actions.  Human sweat is an example of our homeostatic response to a high level of heat gain. Technologies like these bring architects one step closer to designing buildings that intelligently regulate themselves in the same responsive ways organisms do on a systems and processes level. Overall their approach seems like a more viable option than similar light management facades like that of the Institut Du Monde Arab which was plagued with mechanical failure from day one. The excerpt below is from Decker Yeadon’s official explanation on their video page:

“Decker Yeadon’s design for a homeostatic facade system advances double-skin technologies by taking advantage of the unique flexibility and low power consumption of dielectric elastomers. Our ribbon design opens and closes to control solar heat gain through the facade.

Automatically responding to environmental conditions, this highly tuned motion is achieved through a simple, elegant actuator. The actuator is an artificial muscle, consisting of a dielectric elastomer wrapped over a flexible polymer core. Expansion and contraction of the elastomer causes the flexible core to bend. A roller at the top of the polymer core ensures smooth motion as the elastomer moves.

The dielectric elastomer includes silver electrodes on both faces. The silver assists the system by reflecting and diffusing light, while distributing an electrical charge across the elastomer, causing it to deform.

Inspired by homeostasis in biological systems, our facade regulates a building’s climate by automatically responding to environmental conditions. Its advantage over conventional systems lies in its low power consumption and superior precision. Because the surface material is also the motor, it essentially offers localized control along any segment of the facade.

This high degree of control can only benefit contemporary architecture, which has become increasingly transparent. It provides thermoregulation while reducing energy consumption and its associated emissions.”

We asked Decker Yeadon to share with us their response to the article

3 thoughts on “Decker Yeadon’s Homeostatic Facade System

  1. I’m impressed by the actuation mechanism and wonder if it could be computer-controlled.

    I am working on a kinetic facade that would incorporate both distributed and centralized computation:

    http://correll.cs.colorado.edu/www/Research/Entries/2010/8/13_Amorphous_Computational_Facades.html

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