The design research project investigates the ability of custom fabricated radiant heating and cooling panels to influence a person’s sensory perception of space. For this research, the radiant panel system is condensed into a cohesive human-sized object where some of the panels radiate heat to our bodies and others are cool to absorb heat from our bodies. The panel geometry responds to human physiology to generate the form and location of the heating and cooling panels according to how our bodies most effectively perceive thermal comfort. For example on the primarily hot side, we feel comfort most effectively when cooling is at our face while on the cool side, we feel comfort most effectively at our abdomen. The research simultaneously tests the ability of the panel material to perform as a radiant surface, the fabrication process using tensile fabric lined molds, and how sensory information can generate the geometry of the thermal panel system.

Special thanks to Woodbury University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Center for Architecture + Design StL

Design team Open Source Architecture (Chandler Ahrens, principal investigator); research assistants: Faith Feng & Joshua Dobken
Fabrication Faith Feng & Joshua Dobken
Assembly Team Faith Feng, Joshua Dobken, Zak Reichert, and Jeffrey Lee
CNC milling Woodbury University Fabrication Lab
Materials GFRG (Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum) with embedded hydronic tubes