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Biomimicry Architecture #3

The Esplanade theater and commercial district in Singapore by DP Architects and Michael Wilford host an elaborate skin inspired by the Durian plant. The external shading system is also responsive in that the triangular louvers adjust during the day to the suns angle and position.

“A secondary sun shading lattice is used with folded sunshades which gradually transform in shape and orientation. The resulting dynamic and ever-changing mesh of dappled sunlight and shadows have given this world-class performing arts venue its distinctively Singaporean personality.”

Inspired by the durian fruit with its formidable thorn-covered husk to protect the seeds inside, a cladding system consisting of lightweight, curved steel space frames with triangular aluminum sun shields were designed.3 The local sun path was extensively studied which showed that it is almost exactly east-west, and this, in turn, determined the shape and depth of the sunshade louvers. Complex geometry analysis via computer modeling then calibrated the shields to change their shape and orientation depending on the angle the sun hits them throughout the day.

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