The application of new materials to architecture opens new possibilites to produce responsive built environments, but with out experimentation these new materials do not move out of the research laboratories in which they are being developed.
Initial investigations focused on static supporting structures for the components. After a number of experiments on static structures the interest moved towards developing dynamic structural arrangements.
In these dynamic structures no static supporting structures are necessary, rather, individual components are connected to each other to produce self-supporting forms. As with the dynamic components, the dynamic structures achieve their form from the relationship of the pre-stretched EAP and the flexible frame. With the dynamic structures an added layer of complexity is achieved through the direct component- to- component relationships. Each component has an influence on the form and movement of it’s neighbors, and therefore, on the structure as a whole.
In the long run thin film technologies will revolutionize the way we think about and interact with materials. They will not only find their application in everyday objects but especially in architecture and the built surroundings. There is already is a tremendous interest in the development of flexible PV cells, OLEDs or thin film insulation materials. In the field of architecture, lightweight construction methods and flexible skins are of great importance as they will allow for more increasingly complex shapes geometries, reduced transportation costs, and increased easeier of construction methods.