School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape


Ben Bridgens, Graham Farmer & Artem Holstov

Contemporary “smart” building systems typically aim to reduce building energy use by means of technologically enabled climate-responsiveness; however, these technologies lack the efficiency and elegance of naturally responsive mechanisms which employ the inherent properties of materials, such as the moisture-induced opening and closing of conifer cones.

This mechanism can be replicated to produce low-tech, low-cost hygromorphs: moisture-sensitive materials which change shape due to shrinkage and swelling of wood, with potential for both functional and aesthetic architectural applications.

Holstov, A., Farmer, G., & Bridgens, B. (2017). Sustainable Materialisation of Responsive Architecture. Sustainability.
Holstov, A., Bridgens, B. N., & Farmer, G. (2015). Hygromorphic materials for sustainable responsive architecture. Construction and Building Materials, 98, 570–582.