Prof.i.Vertr. Sven Pfeifer, msa | münster school of architecture
M.Sc. Carsten Jantzen, Uni Wuppertal
Master Thesis

My master thesis “Raumkrümmung” is concerned with the topic of a dynamic room.

The starting points for this are modern methods of designing that make it possible to plan and draw dynamic designs with computers. For example it is possible to change and fit with sliders or data, from analysis, a design, which is defined through proportions or some fixed parameters.

While the final design is implemented and built, the project loses its dynamic and becomes a stiff object. Today you will find mainly façade systems that rely on the approach to have really dynamic product. Through this it is possible for example to adjust the façade to climatic circumstances. This is made possible with either high-tech installations or with materials that have specialized characteristics.

In my thesis however I wanted to bring dynamic capabilities to a single room. The foundations for this are several researches that show a relationship between the height of a room and the unconscious influence to human mental state. For example a low ceiling can help concentration, but also can give a negative feeling of reduced width.

My purpose was to find a technical solution to deform a room dynamically. For that I mostly used the possibilities of the open-source movement. The mechanical solution is based on an Arduino microcontroller that is wirelessly controlled by a PC.
The built in module is able to push or pull a point on the ceiling, which is covered by a flexible fabric. To control these modules I developed extensive software (based on Processing.org).
This software gives the possibility to control the shape of the ceiling in several different ways.
In combination with a 3D camera (like Microsoft’s Kinect) it gains the capability to analyze the room by itself and fit the shape of the ceiling to the respective situation. Through the intelligent geometry of the modules the possible height of the deformation is spread horizontally unlike for example as with a cylinder.
Therefore the sub construction of the dynamic ceiling is only about 10cm high and makes it possible to install the ceiling in an existing room.

The module was built with advanced methods of manufacturing. For the bigger parts I used acrylic which I sliced with a laser. The connecting parts, gears and other small parts were printed with the help of a 3D-printer which is able to print with plastics.
Every part was exactly and individually designed on the PC and then printed. So it was possible to optimize parts during the design process. The built prototype is fully functional.
While during a complete realization the fabrication of the bigger parts in metal would be more cost-effective and stable.

The developed Software to control the ceiling
Prototype of a Module