Active and Convertible Structures
In nature, there are numerous systems that can adapt to changing environmental conditions. The leaves of the sunflower follow the sun on cloudless days on their way from east to west, while at night they are again "moved" back to the starting position (night-day rhythm). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter and thriving in the summer again (winter-summer rhythm). Energy-efficient systems can thus be created by their movement and changeability.
In contrast to nature, our buildings and engineering structures are usually static, unchangeable and passive. So they are not active in the sense that they can adapt to changing conditions. They are also not changeable and therefore cannot adapt to the changing terms of service. By constructing such active and convertible structures we structural engineers can drive the development of architecture and construction. In this context nature inspires us with their optimized solutions over millions of years.
Also technical progresses have come especially in the field of electronics, passive engineering systems, such as automobiles, airplanes, and even household appliances have already been revolutionized. Especially with the use of cheap mass-produced micro systems such systems already achieve a certain degree of autonomy. The concomitant use of findings of lightweight construction, bionics and microsystems technology on future structures is the focus.
In times of rapid population growth, resource scarcity and climate change, it is necessary to optimize our constructed environment energetically and make them fit for the future. Active and transformable structures can make a contribution.