Reef redefines the role of architectural envelope by capitalizing on emerging material technology to imbue space with behavioral qualities. In tandem with the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Vitto Acconci/Steven Holl-desiged facade, Reef questions the negotiation between the public realms of urban space and the intimacy of the interior.

Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs), a category of metals that change shape according to temperature, offer the possibility of efficient fluid movement without the mechanized motion of earlier technologies. Operating at a molecular level this motion parallels that of plants and lower level organisms, that are considered responsive but not conscious.

A field of sunflowers as they track the sun across the sky, or a reef covered in sea anemones, offer images of the types of responsive motion this technology affords. Reefs responsive membrane creates a diverse range of porous and dynamic enclosures capable of creating sophisticated, flexible responses to an existing program.

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