As part of the speculative “Synthetic Ecologies” studio, a system was developed which responds to the arid Arizona climate. The project is based in Phoenix, where temperatures can drop nearly 50 degrees after sundown. As a city burdened heavily with automotive traffic, Phoenix is facilitating a massive expansion of its Light Rail Transit system to promote public transportation. To draw appeal to the metro system, and to provide a comfortable atmosphere on the train platform, a thermal mass system was developed which is able to block and absorb heat during the day, and redistribute the stored heat at night through a radiant floor.
The system is pneumatic in nature, as it uses air pockets to redistribute the liquid thermal mass where it is needed most based on light sensors and motion sensors. A lightweight tensile structure holds the modules within small frames, and can be reorganized to provide shade during daytime occupancy, warmth during nighttime occupancy, and allow the desert winds to circulate through the platform.
Project Partner: Ellie Hopen