Cloak Wall

Cloak Wall

A New Approach to the Modular Performative Wall

2007–08

The exploration of the modular wall system continues with the development of Cloak Wall. The project was created as part of “Here by Design III”, an exhibit that provided a cross-disciplinary view of innovation in design thinking. The show centered on alternative fabrication techniques and methods across disciplines. HouMinn used the opportunity to continue its collaboration with a team of designers, fabricators, and engineers to advance ideas and answer questions left open by Drape Wall. Cloak Wall takes a fresh look at the problem of a rethinking the wall section for a single-family dwelling. This iteration is a reinvestigation of the “brick” and takes a fresh look at the inner liner developed in Cloak Wall. One significant move is the separation of the interior felt surface and the weather barrier of the wall. The liner still creates an interior skin that can be customized. It also provides a location for storage, power, light, and data. These functions are easier to accommodate when the weather barrier is no longer part of the interior skin. In this version, what was once a nylon waterproof barrier attached to the inner liner has transformed into a quilted ETFE surface that handles weather, insulation, and light. Specific zones of the ETFE skin can be manually opened and closed to allow for ventilation. The surfaces of the ETFE skin will be printed with patterns of varying density to provide filtered light or full shade where desirable. This can be adjusted through inflation/deflation. 

Both the interior and exterior constructs protect the ETFE portion of the building from impact and puncture. The exterior surface acts as a rain screen, allowing moisture through to the ETFE inner skin where it moves down to the ground. Cloak Wall also saw a serious investigation into the potential of paint as more than a decorative surface. We worked in collaboration with a computer scientist whose primary research is in the area of predictive automotive paint software. His team of researchers developed a customized version of the software that allowed us generate color gradients based on analysis of site-specific colors. The performance qualities of the paint that makes it possible to visually cloak a house. That could have an unexpected application. A coordinated “flop” color could make a house better tuned to sunlight. A house could “appear” different to the sun during different seasons. This house would tune itself, absorbing more or less of the suns radiant energy, reducing the need for armatures to shade surfaces and fuel intensive heating and cooling. 

Exhibits    
Goldstein Gallery, Minneapolis

Awards
Architect Magazine, R+D Award, 2008

Publications
Cite Magazine, January 2008
Architect, August 2008

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Cloak House

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