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Images from last friday (September 23rd) Final Presentation. Thanks to all the students for their efforts and the Jury members for their very stimulating critics.


BUILDSMART2011: Final Review Project Videos

“Dynamic Exposure” Team 04: Massimiliano Manno (Polito), Kathryn Brust (RPI), Mary Rose Basile (RPI)

“Action(RE)Action” Team 06: Denise Giordana (Polito), Aviel Rappoport (RPI), Ray Coello (Polito), Hyatt Tortorella (RPI)

“Interactive Energy Exchange” Team 08: Federico Borello (Polito), Nicole Courville (RPI), Anthony Hackmayer (Polito), Emily Mastropiero (RPI)

“ECOhive” Team 02: Chiara Bertetti (Polito), Caitlin Toczko (RPI), Diana Carolina González del Castillo (Polito), Carrie Ann Drexel (RPI)

“Ephemeral Canvas” Team 01: Dorothy Underwood (RPI), Davide Scialo’ (Polito), Kira Wong (RPI)

“Folding Garden” Team09: Alex Rohr (RPI), Parker Bunce (RPI), Maria Alejandra Suarez (Polito)

“BeeSmart” Team 03: Rebecca Exley (RPI), Monika Gribergs (RPI), Marco Pedrazzo (Polito)

“Respiratory Motion” Team 07: Kati Siu (RPI), Laura Moreno (Polito), Susan Bivone (RPI), Marcello Chiado’ Rana (Polito)

“Sensory Synapse” Team 05:  Shivanthi Narendran (RPI), Alice Birolo (Polito), Julia Emilanta Martoccia Grabazs (RPI), Enrico Arese (Polito)

DAY TWENTY: Final Review Introduction


On behalf of the schools of architecture at Polito and RPI would like to thank the jury that is joining our final review! We have assembled an accomplished group of critics from the disciplines of façade engineering, structural engineering, computation, design and architecture. Their time and insights are an invaluable contribution to the educational experience of the students attending the BUILDSMART2011 workshop and discussion of architecture as an interdisciplinary process is critical to the future of the discipline.

Grasshopper screenshot: parametric modeling software


The BUILDSMART2011 is the 4th annual international architectural workshop dedicated to the examination of new technologies and ecological practices in architecture. Each year architecture students from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Politecnico Di Tornino join in an intensive four week workshop where they explore the latests advances in digital technology and applied architectural research. This years research has focused on an interdependent approach to the relationship between technology, ecology, the social and aesthetic in architectural innovation. Students have produced directed research into the development of 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 the effects of environmental ambiences.

Arduino: open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software


The idea that architecture belongs in one place and technology belongs in another is comparatively new in history, and its effect on architecture, which should be the most complete of the arts of mankind, has been crippling.
Reyner Banham, The architecture of the well-tempered environment

The history of architecture is fundamentally based on the inclusion of ‘open-source’ models and technologically driven innovation. Arguably, until only very recently, the contemporary culture of architecture has resisted the notion that technological, environmental, social and aesthetic performance converge as architecture. As Banham’s critique points out, understanding building as a series of independent qualities does not generate a ‘complete’ architecture.

The BUILDSMART2011 Turin Workshop is a platform for the development of an integral and interdependent approach to the relationship between technology, ecology, the social and the aesthetic in architectural innovation. The workshop explores the important grassroots Arduino and Fablab movements which have quickly become a global phenomenon. Through the exploration and experimentation with additive technological systems that can be constructed into complex sensor driven and reactive systems the students have developed open-source systems of environmental modulation in architectural surfaces.The students have constructed fully functional prototypes of their models within the Fablab Italia on exhibit at the ‘Stazione Futuro’ in Turin, Italy.

A final component of the BUILDSMART2011 workshop provides an opportunity to examine the programatic and architectural application of the responsive envelopes as a covered market and multipurpose venue at the OGR (Officine Grandi Riparazioni).

Students @ work in the Fablab Italia

Workshop Timeline:

Week ONE: Scenario / Component System / Digital Modeling

Week TWO: FabLab / Prototype Fabrication and testing

Week THREE: Design proposal and scenario development

Week FOUR: Design Proposal and final review presentation

Review Schedule:

10,00 – Team 04: Dynamic Exposure

Massimiliano Manno (Polito)
Kathryn Brust (RPI)
Mary Rose Basile (RPI)

10,30 – Team 06: ACTION(re)ACTION

Denise Giordana (Polito)
Aviel Rappoport (RPI)
Ray Coello (Polito)
Hyatt Tortorella (RPI)

11,00 – Team 08: Interactive Energy Exchange

Federico Borello (Polito)
Nicole Courville (RPI)
Anthony Hackmayer (Polito)
Emily Mastropiero (RPI)

11,30 – Team 02: ECOhive

Chiara Bertetti (Polito)
Caitlin Toczko (RPI)
Diana Carolina González del Castillo (Polito)
Carrie Ann Drexel (RPI)

12,00 – Team 01: Ephemeral Canvas

Dorothy Underwood (RPI)
Davide Scialo’ (Polito)
Kira Wong (RPI)

12,30 Lunch

13,00 – Team 09: Folding Garden

Alex Rohr (RPI)
Parker Bunce (RPI)
Maria Alejandra Suarez (Polito)

13,30 – Team 03: BeeSmart

Rebecca Exley (RPI)
Monika Gribergs (RPI)
Marco Pedrazzo (Polito)

14,00 – Team 07: Respiratory Motion

Kati Siu (RPI)
Laura Moreno (Polito)
Susan Bivone (RPI)
Marcello Chiado’ Rana (Polito)

14,30 – Team 05: Sensory Synapse

Shivanthi Narendran (RPI)
Alice Birolo (Polito)
Julia Emilanta Martoccia Grabazs (RPI)
Enrico Arese (Polito)


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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