Latitudo Borealis

This project aims to rethink building envelope construction to exploit an opportunity to reverse the normative winter heat flow in order to increase building performance and decrease energy demand for application in northern climates. Rather than heat flowing from inside to outside during the winter, the project has developed a wall assembly that takes advantage of solar radiation to direct heat from outside to inside by utilizing the unique heat absorption capabilities of Phase Change Material (PCM). The project has advanced research on genetic algorithm optimized shading systems that use highly detailed solar radiation data to design hyper-localized shades that block excess summer radiation while still allowing winter radiation to enable the reverse heat flow effect. The solar shading system is fabricated robotically through the development of new tools and processes to heat-bend wood slats to produce the highly variable forms necessitated by the optimization of the shading structure.

Ultimately, the project imagines this new cross-laminated timber wall section typology and fabrication method being deployed in timber-rich Austria, where the alpine climate is perfectly suited to capture the benefits of the reverse heat flow effect. A speculative design for a pavilion located within a wilderness preserve has been developed as a testbed for these technologies. Irregular volumes focus apertures through which to observe the broader economies and ecologies within which the project is situated and within which the project aims to intervene.

For more information, please visit Research Through Making.

2017 University of Michigan Research Through Making with Assistant Professor Lars Junghans and Associate Professor Geoffrey Thün. Special thanks to Dean Robert Fishman and Taubman College for the continued sponsorship of this research program. In collaboration with Dan Tish, Deokoh Woo, Isabelle Leysens, Rachael Henry, Karen Toomsian, Travis Crabtree and Andrew Kremers.