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The final jury of the BUILDSMART2011 International Workshop, an Italian-American academic research initiative between the Politecnico di Torino Faculty of Architecture II and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture will take place on september the 23rd at the Castello del Valentino in the Salone d’Onore staring from 10am and will be finishing around 4pm.
Nine teams will present working prototypes of smart building components that dynamically adapt to generate local environmental conditions. The workshop makes use of recent advances in the open-source Aurduino programable micro controller movement. Teams have developed working prototypes, developed at the Fablab Italia laboratory located within the ‘Stazione Futuro’ exhibition on view at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Turin, Italy.
Students will be presenting their proposals, research and prototypes developed over the four week workshop. The groups are developing architectural envelopes based on intelligent interactive components able to index environmental conditions in real time and dynamically adjust and reconfigure to optimize performances, energy consumption and environmental adjustments.
The students have used cutting edge modeling software technologies, manufactured interactive prototypes of their designs, and finally applied their intelligent building systems to a project proposal for a public space at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni.
Nine teams will present their project for 10 minutes each and there will be a public critics session of 20 minutes for every project.
Paolo Mellano (Politecnico di Torino – Facoltà di architettura II – vice preside)
Caterina Tiazzoldi (Politecnico di Torino)
Ingrid Paoletti (Politecnico di Milano)
Mikkel Kragh (ARUP)
Maurizio Meossi (Zaha Hadid Architects)
Giammichele Melis (Buro Happold Ltd)
Andrea Graziano (


Here is a breakdown of the slides for the final presentation:

  • SLIDE 1: cover (include 1 image of the component and one of the design proposal)
  • SLIDE 2: component system (digital model): single component 3d image, section, showing movements and behaviour
  • SLIDE 3: component system (digital model): aggregation strategies to populate/generate larger surfaces
  • SLIDE 4: component system (digital model): performance input (sensor) output (activators)
  • SLIDE 5: component system (prototype): “instructable” diagram and Arduino code
  • SLIDE 6: component system (prototype): manufacturing pix & drawings (cut plans, etc)
  • SLIDE 7: component system (prototype): performance pix & drawings
  • SLIDE 8: design proposal:  roof plan and  general layout 3d diagram
  • SLIDE 9: design proposal: sections with performance diagram
  • SLIDE 10: design proposal: program diagram and ground plan
  • SLIDE 11: design proposal: environmental/programmatic scenarios, dynamic configurations
  • SLIDE 12: design proposal: detail of a part of the surface with structure, sensors and activators
  • SLIDE 13: design proposal: parametric logic diagram (Grasshopper definitions, coding…)
  • SLIDE 14: summary comprehensive diagrams
  • SLIDE 15: final rendering to launch the discussion


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Some diagrams of the 9 design proposals to use the components system in the OGR site in Torino.



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Guys, the Paneling Tools for Rhino might be a good generative plug-in for many of your projects.

Check it out here


Wedensday september the 28th in the afternoon, we will present the “Buildsmart 2011” workshop results at the “Smart Building Torino Smart City” Conference.

More info @ the Conference web site.



This video shows the prototypes developed during Week 3. At this stage, the prototypes, with their Arduino based nervous system able to map the environemnt to reconfigure the components system in real time, are almost working.

Congratulation to all students for the amazing work! Looking forward to seeing the final prototypes…


Our exploration of the Politecnico classrooms will continue: we are going to spend the next week in classroom 12I, Via Borsellino campus, underground courtyard.

It will be the last workshop week and we are going to have a few events:

  • monday 19 >> afternoon presentation of the design proposal (WIP), begin to use the official workshop template to create your multipage pdf (download indesign template file here)
  • wednesday 21 >> pre-final presentation (components + prototypes + design proposal), use official workshop template, and prepare a 15 pages pdf as if it was the final with the material you have right now
  • friday 23 >> FINAL PRESENTATION: starting at 10,00 in the morning at the Castello del Valentino. Each group will present its work to an international jury for 15 minutes, with a 15 minutes critique session. We plan to finish by 16,00.
    Presentation material include:
    – working prototype
    – 15 pages pdf
    – max 2 minutes video of the components performances
    – 2 A3 panels (download illustrator template here)

We will spend week 5 collecting files and post-producing the presentations in order to have a 1 hour presentation ready for the Smart City Conference on september the 28th.


SIX pages A4 (landscape orientation)

PAGE 01-03: General on site occupation strategy (roof plan, ground level plan showing structural system, typical sections, perspectives)

PAGE 04: Surface generation strategy in diagram

PAGE 05: Variety of surface parameters

PAGE 06: Envelope behaviour diagram


Presentation scheduled from 15:30 to 18:00. All teams must prepare a six minute overview, each team member is required to participate in the overview presentation.

Day ELEVEN : Site and Program

Site: OGR (Officine Grandi Riparazioni), Turin, Italy
Program:  Atrium / Fresh Local Food Markets / Restaurants / Forum


Based on the current research into smart building systems each group will adapt their prototypes to the site of the front court yard area of the OGR. The current plans for the OGR development are to convert the facility into a regional cultural hub and scientific center which will become home to 800 engineers and researcher connected to the Polito. Current support includes 180 million euro from the CRT foundation of Turin. (Related Article -Isole24Ore) (Polito Press Release)

The design proposal focuses specifically on the large public space at the entrance of the OGR (Currently the RED courtyard). The program calls for the covering and semi-enclosure of this area with a performative envelope based on the workshop research that addresses issues of program and environment. This space will serve both the city and the transformation of the OGR as an  atrium or forum with fresh food markets, exhibitions, restaurants, cafe’s, and two event spaces that can be flexibly arranged to for various related programs including, public education events such as cooking demonstrations, conferences on food and other food related educational programs.

Food movements in Italy:

Gastronomic Sciences University