A close-up view of Smith|Allen's dropped ceiling graft, Liminal Mass.
Smith|Allen A close-up view of Smith|Allen's dropped ceiling graft, Liminal Mass.

This week, dynamic façades enlivened the use of natural light in project interiors while reflective ceiling panels glowed overhead. Additionally, a team of highly motivated students (very nearly) rendered a Gaudí masterpiece out of wood-reinforced ice.

Dutch artist Simon Heijdens knows which way the wind blows. His recent installation in London, Shade (above), featured a 1,500 square-foot glass façade sectioned into small triangular cells triggered by wind-activated exterior sensors to alter from opaque to transparent. The continual movement spreads a play of light across the interior while giving occupants glimpses of the outdoors. [Wired]

Researchers in Spain have developed a natural ventilation system for pitched roofs that reduces heat accumulation without the need for mechanical air cooling. The system can be applied to both new and existing roofs, and it features a frame with a flat, elongated U-shaped section joined to the structural elements to form a path for cooling air flow. [Phys.org]

Students at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands built a simplified, scaled-down version of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Família using snow-covered inflatable molds coated in a wood fiber–reinforced water mixture that strengthens the structure as it freezes. Much like the original in Barcelona, the snow version (above) was unfinished when in opened on Jan. 24. [Gizmag]

Jin Young Song, an assistant professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, won a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop a prototype, bio-adaptive façade that diffuses natural light in a manner reminiscent of tree leaves. His design features an integrated photo-chemically responsive polymer sheet that diffuses light through its folds. [University of Buffalo]


Oakland, Calif.–based design firm Smith|Allen debuted Liminal Mass, a 3D-printed, bioplastic ceiling design for a residential project near San Francisco, at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Artist-in-Residence show last weekend. The responsive surface, which is textured in a pattern representative of local bio-culture, reflects ambient light while integrated lighting components illuminate the suspended panel after dark. [Instructables]

An earlier version of this article misspelled Jin Young Song's name. We regret the error.