Shelter

Tokyo's transforming tower


io9 reports that Hoberman Associates has debuted a "transformable" tower in Tokyo:

The building features a double facade, with the inner wall positioned three feet from the exterior. Within this gap, 185 shutters can rotate in or out of place, alternately letting light in or shielding the windows from the glare of direct sunlight. The entire shutter system is automated, using photo sensors to detect the optimal shutter positions at any given moment. Hoberman estimates the shutters reduce heat gain by up to ten percent. The shutters also have entertainment value, as they move in unison as part of a nighttime light show.

I love the idea of buildings acting like photophores or chromatophores to maintain energy efficiency, and these shutters sound like a good first step. (Smart pigments that work like e-ink would be even better, and would be even more efficient than smart shutters.) I do see potential for glitches (anyone who's met a Tokyo crow knows what I'm talking about), and I wish there were a way to combine these shutters and some form of external cladding, but in a year both the tower's designers and its inhabitants will understand how best to exploit this building's transformation potential.

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