University of Latvia design for the USA Biomimicry Institute contest of shading systems has won the second place
UL Press Centre
The Sunlight Induced Shading System design by Latvian students has won the second place in the Biomimicry Student Design Challenge 2011, organised by the Biomimicry Institute, USA.
The Latvian team was comprised of the UL Botanical Garden staff including the UL Faculty of Biology and the UL Faculty of Chemistry staff members, as well as students and professors from Riga Technical University (RTU).
The first prize went to the design by student researchers in architecture and economics from the Art Institute of Isfahan, Iran. The winning design was inspired by desert snails; it introduces buildings that are specifically adapted for hot climate. These buildings make use of self-shading and surface reflection to create a liveable habitat without relying on air conditioning. The second place award went to the University of Latvia and the third place went to the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, who designed the facade panels using snow to create natural insulation of buildings in winter.
The competition requirements were as follows: correspondence of the design to the idea of biomimicry, originality, the design’s potential effect, quality of presentation and team work. The proposed designs had to be feasible, energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the relevant region.
The UL design drew inspiration from observation of gazanias, poppies and other flowers. Their flowers open with the sun, and the moving stomata cells in their leaves form slit pores through which gases and water vapour pass. These movements inspired the idea of a shading system consisting of separate elements whose “leaves” open and close with the sun. Sunlight warms up the container (“receptacle”) of gas that expands and opens “petals” by pulling an elastic membrane. This type of shading is energy-efficient; each system element is autonomous. The design is more suitable for greenhouses that need to be shaded already in February in our climate zone; it is also suitable for public spaces and can be adapted to household purposes.
The UL Botanical Garden design was created by the UL Faculty of Chemistry student Edgars Olehnovics, UL Faculty of Biology students Margarita Bildina, Evita Verpakovska, Sandra Krasucka, RTU student and scientific assistant at the Institute of Environmental Protection and Heating Systems Anna Beloborodko, UL associate professors Brigita Laime and Turs Selga and the UL Botanical Garden staff members Anta Sparinska, Oskars Sturis and Signe Tomsone.
In total, 50 proposals from 10 countries were entered into the contest (Canada, Iran, Norway, India, Sweden, Latvia, Italy, Great Britain, Turkey and USA), 12 of which competed in the final.
More information on the contest and winners is available at: www.biomimicrydesignchallenge.
Translated by students of the professional study programme Translator of the University of Latvia.