Responsive sculpture bringing awareness to sustainability and energy conservation.
A responsive sculpture that serves as a visual icon for building simulation, energy conservation, and sustainability in buildings in the Harvard community.
Urban Interactive Sculpture
Physical Computing, ESP32, LED, Firebase, CNC
Design, Programming, Prototyping
Harvard Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab (REAL), INVIVIA
Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC)
Comissioned by Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC), House Zero responsive sculpture is a visual icon for building simulation, energy conservation, and sustainability in buildings in the Harvard community.
Design a real time sculpture showcasing House Zero’s geothermal wells.
Responsiveness and Urban liveliness
This sculpture showcases House Zero’s geothermal wells as they moderate the temperature inside Harvard University Graduate School of Design’s House Zero, a retrofit of a pre-1940s building on Harvard campus with the goal of nearly zero-energy for heating and cooling, zero electric lighting during the day, operating with 100 percent natural ventilation.
To highlight the role of the geothermal wells in maintaining House Zero’s heating and cooling, this sculpture provides real-time underground temperature information from the ground (0 ft) to -300 ft underground.
Sculpture illuminating at night
Using Rhino3D, Grasshopper and VRay, I produced and rendered parametric design explorations for the sculpture and rapidly iterated the form. After taking into consideration the material property, fabrication process (CNC milling), and electronics packaging, the final production model employed the formal element of vertical flutes.
Parametric design iteration: curved slices
Parametric design iteration: flowing veil (left) and expressive lines (right)
I was responsible for programming ESP32 boards to work with 7-segment displays, LCD screens, and LED strips in the numerous prototypes including the final production model. I utilized Arduino IDE, Firebase, OTA servers, and NTP servers to ensure that the temperature information updates in real-time and the LED strip animates according to the latest temperature and season.
Programming and animating ESP32 boards and LED strip
I've had the great opportunity to contribute to the end-to-end process of design, prototyping, and fabrication of a responsive artifact, which creates positive impact to the Harvard community.
I encountered various challenges programming real-time over-the-air data updates, coordinating them with LED animation, and packaging everything inside a weather-proof shell. I grew a lot as a collaborator and as a creative technologist.