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Glass Block for the Urban Naturist

the Urban Naturist

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The Urban Naturist Problems of Place
The Urban Naturist reluctantly dwells in the city as his job, school or family requires, but he truly longs to exist in harmony with nature. This includes the desire to dispense with clothing in order to return to a more natural state. The American writer Walt Whitman describes it this way: “Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! - ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.” Such a sentiment poses certain architectural challenges for the Urban Naturist. By day, he seeks access to sunlight and connection with the outdoors. By night, he chooses to be free of the constraints of city life while in the privacy of his own home. However, due to the density in which many city dwellers find themselves, the Urban Naturist risks alienation, even victimization, should he not draw his curtains tight after dusk. the Urban Naturist The plight of the Urban Naturist poses opportunities to rethink transparency in the city dweller’s home.

The Glass Block Goals of Augmentation
Taking the standard glass block (non-structural in this exercise) as a starting point, the following objectives were established in order to accomodate the varying needs of the Urban Naturist: Optimize daylight Meteorological adjustment for solar gain Nightly conversion to privacy screen Additional aims of the augmentation were that the glass block be maintained as an autonomous object that need only be “plugged in”. A wall configuration of these blocks is in the service of the inhabitant foremost, but does not neglect its neighborhood presence. And finally, the smart block should produce its own power if at all possible. Based upon these goals, it appeared that a two-sided, multi-modal system would be necessary to enable the block to adapt to these changing conditions. On the one hand, the block should respond to the environment during the day. But it must know that when night falls, it should cater to the movements of the inhabitant. the Urban Naturist

Albrecht Durer, Adam & Eve, 1504

Standard Glass Block

July

January

Nightly

Peter Cook, Instant City, 1968

Degrees of Transparency

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Mulit-modal System Sensing and Actuating
When the sun is shining on a given block in summer, the photocell will trigger the fan to turn on, thus creating a flutter of leaves in order to filter the direct sunlight and cast a dappled condition on the interior. When out of direct sunlight, the fan will not be triggered and an LED instead will illuminate the block. On a sunny day, on a south facing wall, a wave of fluttering leaves will track the sun’s path. In the winter, the sun will not trigger the fans so as to allow as much direct sunlight as possible to penetrate to the interior. Nightmode tracks the movements of the inhabitant rather than the sun. When a presence is detected by a given block, the fans will be triggered and the leaves will flutter. Where no presence is detected, the LED will illuminate the block. From the exterior, one would observe the movements of the inhabitants as a fluttering of leaves tracking across the surface of the wall.

Scenario Flow Conditional Commands

determine which side of block is brighter

exterior is brighter interior is brighter

engage photocell

engage infrared sensor

Summer sun sensing, Nighttime inhabitant sensing

sunlight is detected no sunlight is detected

presence is detected no presence is detected

check is it winter or summer it is summer it is winter fans turn on led turns on
the Urban Naturist

fans turn on led turns on

Winter sun sensing, no inhabitant

the Urban Naturist

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Arduino Code Annotated

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float damper=0.01;//factor by which to multiply photocell reading to allow for spring-like action in response time float dampedValue;//the adjusted value of the photocell reading float average;//calibrated average of the photocell int threshold=100;//to give a cushion to readings from the photocell void setup(){ Serial.begin(9600);//Begining Serial Connection pinMode(5,OUTPUT);//fan 1 pinMode(6,OUTPUT);//fan 2 pinMode(7,OUTPUT);//fan 3 pinMode(13,OUTPUT);//LED light Serial.println(“System Ready”); for (int i=0; i<20; i++){//calibrating the photocell average=average+analogRead(5);} average=average/20; Serial.println(average); delay(1000); } void loop(){ int in = analogRead(5);//reading the photocell dampedValue = dampedValue + (indampedValue)*damper;

if(dampedValue>average+threshold) digitalWrite(5,HIGH);//turn fan 1 on else digitalWrite(5,LOW);//turn fan 1 off if(dampedValue>average+threshold) digitalWrite(6,HIGH);//turn fan 2 on else digitalWrite(6,LOW);//turn fan 2 off if(dampedValue>average+threshold) digitalWrite(7,HIGH);//turn fan 3 on else digitalWrite(7,LOW);//turn fan 3 off if(dampedValue<average+threshold) digitalWrite(13,HIGH); //turn LED off else digitalWrite(13,LOW);//turn LED on Serial.println(dampedValue); }

the Urban Naturist

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Arduino Wiring Diagram

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Working Prototype Process of Elimination
The greatest challenge in developing the working prototype proved to be the kinetics, specifically fluid dynamics, rather than issues with the sensor communicating with the actuators. In a sealed container it appeared a fan without intake or outlet achieved a kind of stalemate equilibrium and it proved difficult to achieve motion. Venting at the top and bottom of the block was essential in creating sufficient air flow. Even so, the minimal resistance of the grate caused problems and many materials were tested, including tissues, trace paper, Styrofoam, and the bubbles from plastic packaging. The addition of a screen covering the fan, while adding unwanted wind resistance, proved necessary for smaller items that would get lodged in and around the fans. Plastic bags cut into small pieces, while having the additional issue of static, were finally the easiest to move with the given air flow. Solution I, shown at right, involved attaching strips of plastic bags to the plastic mesh covering the fans. This had the unexpected effect of creating a kind of parachute in which the plastic mesh was lifted up by the force of air on the attached strips. The result was ironic as what had proved most difficult was succeeding in lifting the lightest of materials with the fans. The final solution for this phase of the project was to cut the plastic bags into the initially desired leaf shapes, and provided there were not too many of the objects in the block, they would indeed flutter around, as documented in the Proof of Concept Video.

Trial and Error

the Urban Naturist

Arduino talking to Prototype

Solution I

the Urban Naturist

Relevant website of the provider Relevant youtube video webaddress

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