Diffusive Geometries: Vapor as a Tectonic Element to Sculpt Microclimates in Architectural Space

Rendering of “Diffusive Geometries”
by Honghao Deng (MDes Tech '18)

An essential function of architecture is to control the environment around us. In practice, interior climates are discretized into self-contained units where wetness is kept in wet spaces and dryness in dry spaces. Contrary to nature's weather patterns, architecture is often static, with no diffusion in between. As a result, weather conditions that exist in nature are not experienced inside. Vapor is a medium to bring microclimates that exist outside into architectural space in Diffusive Geometries: Vapor as a Tectonic Element to Sculpt Microclimates in Architectural Space. The unique characteristics of vapor allow users to modulate visibility, create cooling gradients, and produce spatial patterns in a controlled manner. This project encompasses three main elements: a point – vapor vortex ring, a line – vapor tornado, and a plane – vapor wall. The focused and diffused conditions of vapor enable both localized and global states to transpire through soft boundaries.

“Diffusive Geometries” was the 2019 recipient of a Core77's Design Award in the Built Environment category.

Prototype of Tornado beam geometry at various fan speed and boundary conditions
Tornado beam geometry at various fan speed and boundary conditions
Drawing of rotating focused beam basic construction mechanism
rotating focused beam basic construction mechanism
Testing vapor in physical model with different wall types
Testing vapor in physical model with different wall types
Images of Tornado beams used to activate public space
Using “Tornado beams” for public spaces