As part of a project called “Translated Geometries,” three students from Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) have constructed a modular surface that expands and contracts based on temperatures.

Students Ece Tankal, Efilena Baseta, and Ramin Shambayati used Shape Memory Polymers (SMPs) to create a prototype structure that becomes flexible at temperatures over 60 to 70 degrees Celsius and starts to expand and contract into a new shape.

As they cool, the polymers harden and retain their new shape but currently require reheating to return to their original form.

The SMPs were used to create hexagonal joints that were attached to a tessellation of plywood tiles to produce the rigid yet flexible modular surface material that can expand to four times its original size.

The IAAC students are working on developing the concept further and exploring how different composites would react to the level of stress a system like this would introduce.

They believe the concept could one day be used to make molds on a construction site and is a step closer to shape-shifting architecture that doesn’t require extra sensors or automation.

Take a look at the protype in action in the video below.

Video: Τranslated Geometries from efilena baseta on Vimeo.

Courtesy Architizer