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Screengrab via Behnaz Farahi/Vimeo

Insane architecture creates room that actually breathes

A breath of fresh air in architecture.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Apr 8, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 11:30 pm CDT

Impressive architecture can breathe life into spaces. In the case of designer Behnaz Farahi’s latest concept, that phrase is meant literally. She created an interactive ceiling that moves as though it’s inhaling and exhaling the air of the room.

The installation, dubbed Aurora after the Roman goddess of dawn, is a 15-foot by 15-foot ceiling that does more than just provide shelter; it reconfigures its shape and behavior based on the movement of the people in the room.

The project is the cumulation of a collaborative research project between the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab at University of Southern California and furniture manufacturer SteelCase, and utilizes an existing ceiling grid with a variety of dynamic and passive panels built atop it.

Aurora spots user movement with an Xbox Kinect motion capture camera and translates the motion into architectural action, shifting and reshaping itself to react to what’s happening in the room. Farahi explained on her site that the project is an attempt to “reimagine the possibilities of sensory spaces and robotic architecture.”

“This project aims to rethink the conventional rigid, solid architectural space through its combination of shape changing form, responsive lighting, adaptable spaces and interactive responses,” she wrote.

Aurora is currently on display at the MEML lab at the University of Southern California, so go check it out if you need some room to breathe.


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*First Published: Apr 8, 2016, 12:52 pm CDT