Belleville, Washington, USA
Designed by Chandler Ahrens together with his team of Open Source Architecture the Catoptric Surface harvests daylight by reflecting it through a building envelope to form an image-based pattern of light in an interior environment.
The project won a recent 2021 Green Good Design® Award from The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
The practical applications are intended to locate daylight in precise locations in the interior of a building with the potential to replace the need for artificial lights.
Often the desired quantity and quality of daylight vary due to factors such as physiological differences due to age, the types of tasks people perform, and their quality of eyesight.
This system allows highly customized daylight levels within the interior of a building that can be quickly adapted to the user’s needs to key locations deep within a building.
The project produces visual effects and its customized light levels through its ability to move.
It is a robotic facade system where each mirror rotates independently, controlled by a computer and electric motors to reflect daylight from the exterior deep within the building in precise locations.
In this sense, each mirror can be considered to produce a pixel of daylight.
The location of each pixel of light is determined by any raster-based image that is provided to the software.
As each mirror rotates to reflect daylight onto a chosen location, it attempts to recreate a very low-resolution version of the input image.
Project: Catoptric Surface
Architects: Chandler Ahrens, Open Source Architecture (O-S-A)
Client: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA