Wood is a versatile and sustainable construction material with a long history of use; however, its hygroscopic behaviour, leading to fluctuations in moisture and resulting in swelling and shrinking, has been traditionally seen as an obstacle. This concept of “animate materials”—materials that possess the properties of activity, adaptability, and autonomy—offers a new way of thinking about wood and other materials, allowing them to sense, move, and change shape in response to their environment.
The product starts with reclaimed timber which is shaped and Kerferd through CNC process. Sawdust generated through the process is combined with Chitosan based hydrogel and deposited over the panel through a Robotic arm. This cycle provides a sustainable process for producing complex shapes with precision, repeatability, and tuneable deformation behaviours. Outcome is a stimuli-responsive bi-materials that can be programmed to change shape when exposed to moisture, and folds when environment is dry. Bio-inspired wood bilayers have been studied for their ability to respond to humidity fluctuations, displaying how a biological material can be designed to act as a sensor, actuator, and controller.
We combine this property of the material with computational process of assembly and aggregation to design functional spaces that actively participate in local ecosystems, and adapting to environmental conditions; combined with fabrication workflow which breaks the linear chain of timber industry and provide novel material with applications as passive responsive skin for a built environment.