The Bartlett School of Architecture


Heliotropic Moire Patterns

Zeynep Tugba Cakmak

This project investigates alternative skins for the solar shading of existing buildings and proposes a new passive-active surface: a skin created by combining lightweight fabrics and smart materials. The goal is to create a kinetic façade which harnesses solar energy instead of active, mechanical systems which require electricity. 

The skin is composed of bimetallic strips, laser-cut fabric, and 3D-printed hardware. These are interlaced and intertwined into a lightweight solar shading skin. The bimetallic strip is activated by solar energy, actuating spinning fabric surfaces which are detailed with laser-cut patterns. The interference of the rotating fabric ‘petals’ with the underlying patterned skin creates dynamic moire shadow effects on the façade, evolving over time as the solar heat changes throughout the day.  


1. Front view of model with circular hub
2. Perspective view of model with circular hub    
3. Moirè effect of panel after actuation
4. Moirè effect of panel before actuation
5. Shadow effect of front panel view during actuation