Vacuum panels – first prototypes

14th October 2014

2014-11-18 Vacuum prototype II 003_web 2014-11-18 Vacuum prototype II 005_web 2014-11-18 Vacuum prototype II 009_web 2014-11-18 Vacuum prototype II 012_web

Vacuum panels are brilliant. One can make a composite material that is entirely disasseblable! The materials are held together by removing the air between them, then released by simply adding air. The materials are not perforated by screws, not stuck to other materials with adhesives and not chemically bonded. This is ideal for this project that focuses on disassembly.

A panel is made up of two membranes and a core material. The applied vacuum provides extra rigidity so the core material can be made up of smaller elements. These elements can also be waste. I see this system having huge potential, both in terms of material variety and the possible “composites” resulting from this joining method in addition to application opportunities including facades, internal walls, simple room dividers and solar shading.

After initial prototyping it seems like the theory works – the materials are held in place through the use of vacuum, adding rigidity to the panel – even when using “soft” materials such as duvets and thin plastic.

I am now working on the following themes:

–       What materials to use for the core?
Ideally I would like to achieve a “full wall panel” with structure and insulation within the vacuumed membrane. Transparency is a bonus. I think this can be achieved through finding a grid/lattice structured material that forms air “pockets” within the vacuumed membrane (e.g. the toilet rolls in the prototype).

–       Material for the membrane?
The current membrane in the prototype is the plastic bag from Jysk made of 73% polyethylene and 27% Nylon. This material needs to be airtight. Transparency and resistance to bursting are great features.

–       How to avoid puncturing the membrane. i.e. releasing the vacuum?

design for disassembly

20th  September 2014

  saab by IKEA 

Design for disassembly is a vital aspect of this project. This is a new principle for me. I understand is as a way of seeing the building as a “kit of parts” that are put together in a hierarchy due to the longevity of the materials and function. A large piece of IKEA furniture that you can “take down, transport, and rebuild at another location”. Like the half timber houses of the past.

As inspiration I have found two images. The first displays all the elements of a car (and how you could potentially assemble them with one tool). However, all maintenance of a Citroen 2CV can be managed with only two tools; a screwdriver and a wrench. These principles are transferable this project.

Filmbyen – the brief

8th  September 2014

site in Aarhus Access to site 121_web

The brief for Studio Regenerative Design at Aarhus Architecture school is to design an extension for Filmbyen – a regional film and mediacentre in Aarhus. This cluster of around 40 different companies and organisations is situated in and around a former power plant in the central harbour area of Aarhus. As of now, more than 10 companies are eager to join this regional film and media center, leaving Filmby Aarhus short of app. 4400 sq. meters. On one hand, Filmby Aarhus needs to react quickly to accommodate the demand for space, as the epicentre of film and media might dissolve and move elsewhere if the requested facilities are not provided soon enough; on the other hand, changes in economy and needs occur and fluctuate frequently in this kind of economy and businesses, which means it is difficult and time-demanding to provide funding and permissions for more permanent buildings. All in all, this calls for provisional and highly transformable architectural solutions. Furthermore, Filmby Aarhus regards a highly sustainable, transformable and programmatically open environment as a decisive asset in itself and for future renters.