Designed to Respond to Rain

This project was a collaboration between three University of Oregon architecture students, and one industrial design student from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. We were challenged to create a functioning prototype of a kinetic design solution for Granville Island's alleys. During charrettes and consultations with Turner Exhibits, a custom design and fabrication lab in Lynnwood, Washington, we were able to create a moving canopy in Solidworks, Softimage, and finally in plastic, metal, and acrylic parts. In theory, they will deploy in a rhythm when it begins to rain, and retract above the buildings when the sun returns.

Rendering of Railspur Alley, Vancouver, BC (Solidworks, Sketchup, Photoshop)

Screenshot from animation by Kevin Young (Softimage)

Modeling the basic movement (Wire mesh, bass wood, hinges)

Modeling the basic movement (Wire mesh, bass wood, hinges)

Railspur Alley is the only dedicated, pedestrian/ bicycle space on Granville Island. The alley is “a place for strolling, exploration and shopping, ... where one can see artistic and industrial manufacturing first-hand and at a pedestrian scale.”The alley is enclosed by approximately ten 1-2 story industrial buildings, some of which have been adapted to retail uses fronting on the alley. 
Contrary to widespread perception, both sun and rain are common in Vancouver, British Columbia. On average, there are 166 days of precipitation annually, which is outnumbered by 289 days with sunshine. Protection from rain could contribute substantially to the success of a pedestrian street, but should not inhibit the enjoyment of sunshine, when present. 

We would like to provide a translucent or transparent canopy at Railspur Alley to protect pedestrians from precipitation, while opening in sunny conditions to the weather and sky. A kinetic rain canopy is an appropriate design solution because it can provide rain protection when needed, but can also move in such a way as to admit maximum daylight when the weather is dry.

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Wing pattern study

Dimensioning for construction (Solidworks)


Created in collaboration with Erik Bonnett (Mechanical), Kevin Young (Animation), Alysha Paiaro (Fabrication)

Competencies:

3D Modeling (Solidworks)
Prototyping
Fabrication
Graphic Design