Encoding Gesture-Oriented Human Behaviour for the Development and Control of an Adaptive Building Skin

  • Odysseas Kontovourkis
  • Kristis Alexandrou
  • Stavros Frangogiannopoulos


This paper discusses soft structural transformation strategies and responsive motional activation control methods for the development of an interactive building skin, responsible for regulating inner light conditions, with particular feedback from human position and stature. Inspired from the latest employment of smart mobile devices in building industry as an on/off wireless control switchboard, the present project demonstrates an alternative, gesture-based activation methodology towards a more natural and approachable way of controlling architectural environments. Elastically deformable planar elements of low thickness, in the basis of bending-active principles, have been chosen for the composition of a ‘soft’, modular adaptive building skin that enables flexible kinetic transformation with enhanced diverse geometrical conversion. Alongside the question of responsive motional control strategies, the search for a practical design setup is investigated aiming to establish a computational-oriented methodology that integrates information from both direct physical sensory data and indirect computational programming and organization of the input information. This is discussed through the case studies, where the physical performance of individuals is examined to generate input parameters responsible for the appropriate gesture activation of the digitally simulated responsive skin. User’s physical actions are recorded via the synergy of multiple sensors and classified into two main categories. Computation of both data resulted on an enriched user motion decoding, and therefore the encoding of specific structural reactions.


Computational design Adaptive architecture Wireless gestural control Bending-active members Physical computing 



The current paper presents an extended work that includes further research developments of a project initiated within the framework of the postgraduate course ARH-522—Advanced Computer-Aided Design Topics taught in the Department of Architecture at the University of Cyprus during the Fall semester of 2014. The initial investigation has been presented during the 3rd eCAADe Regional International Workshop ‘Computational Morphologies’ that was held in Polytechnic University of Milan on 14–15 May 2015 under the title ‘Adaptive building skin development and wireless gesture-oriented control’ and was authored by Odysseas Kontovourkis, Kristis Alexandrou, Constantinos Vassiliades, Stavros Frangogiannopoulos, Neofytos Dimitriou, and Christina Petrou [10]. We would like to sincerely thank all contributors participating in the previous part of investigation of the current extended work.


  1. 1.
    Schnädelbach, H. (2010). Adaptive architecture: A conceptual framework. In Media City, Weimar.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lienhard, J., Lpermann, H., Gengnagel, C., & Knippers, J. (2013). Active bending, a review on structures where bending is used as a self-formation process. In Space structures, multi science.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
    Knippers, J., Scheible, F., Oppe, M., & Jungjohann, H. (2012). Bio-inspired kinetic GFRP-façade for the Thematic Pavilion of the EXPO 2012 in Yeosu. In I SS-PCS-symposium, Seoul.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Softhouse Residence in Germany. Retrieved from December 22, 2014.
  6. 6.
    Dubberly, H., Pangaro, P., & Haque, U. (2009). On modelling what is interaction? Are there different types? 69–75.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fox, M., & Polancic, A. (2012). Conventions of control: Catalogue of gestures for remotely interacting with dynamic architectural space. In Association for computer aided design in architecture, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kemp, R. M. (2008). Interactive interfaces in architecture: The new spatial integration of information, gesture and cognitive control. In ACADIA 08: Silicon and skin-biological processes and computation, Chiang Mai.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shahriyar, R., et al. (2008). Remote controlling of home appliances using mobile telephony. In Smart Home, USA.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kontovourkis, O., Alexandrou, K., Vassiliades, C., Frangogiannopoulos, S., Dimitriou, N., & Petrou, C. (2015). Adaptive building skin development and wireless gesture-oriented control [PowerPoint slides]. Presented at the 3rd regionsal international workshop ‘computational morphologies’ at Polytechnic University of Milan.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kontovourkis, O. (2013). Physical data computing in adaptive design process. In Proceeding of international conference of adaptation and movement in architecture, Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Larke, J. (2011). Energy simulation in building design (pp. 266–268). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kieras, D. E., & Meyer, D. E. (1997). An overview of the EPIC architecture for cognition and performance with application to human–computer interaction. Human-Computer Interaction, 12, 391–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Odysseas Kontovourkis
    • 1
  • Kristis Alexandrou
    • 1
  • Stavros Frangogiannopoulos
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.Michael Cosmas Architecture LLCNicosiaCyprus

Personalised recommendations