OSWall: "Design Your Own App" Competition





WHAT IS AN "APP"? "App" is short for "application." Much like apps on the iPhone or Google's Android operating system, OSWall's apps are individual plug-in elements (or programs) that each fulfill a functional requirement of the user. Intended for residential construction, the wall apps, or wall panels, differ from house to house depending on the desires of the occupants, building codes, climate, orientation, availability of local materials, or any other criteria. There are static apps and active apps. Static apps might simply insulate the house, keep water out, or allow natural light in. Active apps might generate electricity from the sun or wind or ventilate the interior of a house depending on outside temperature. OSWall is also comprised of interior apps. These might act as storage, acoustically absorptive wall surfaces, lighting elements, heating elements, etc. 

HOW DO THE "APPS" STAND UP? The apps are attached to a structural armature (pictured below). Inspired by examining barn swallow nests, the armature is comprised of universal components (the mud and saliva in every barn swallow nest) and locally derived materials (the context-dependent materials in a barn swallow nest - might be newspaper in an urban setting, or straw in a rural setting). An inexpensive box of connectors is shipped to the site and the armature is erected with no heavy equipment using locally procured stick elements (standard 2x4's, bamboo, scrap tube steel, cardboard tubes, etc.)



WHO IS INVITED: HouMinn Practice is inviting ANYONE interested (students, designers, architects, engineers, curious & creative people) to design an "application" for our wall prototype, OSWall. We will accept design ideas in the form of sketches, drawings, and physical or digital models. We are looking for app ideas for both exterior and interior wall panels.

WHAT YOU'LL GET: The authors of the most promising app ideas (3 to 6 schemes will be chosen) will receive a modest stipend ($1500 to $3000, depending on number of winners) to develop and prototype their scheme, at full scale, for an upcoming exhibition called "Envelop{e}s," curated by Rice School of Architecture Associate Professor, Christopher Height, at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery in February. Funding for this project is provided by the University of Houston's Green Building Component (UHGBC) initiative. Your app (or multiple copies of your app) will be installed on our wall armature in the gallery. Additionally, for any app ideas we exhibit, talk about, make, model, prototype, or post, the original authors of those apps will receive full credit on our site and in the exhibit, along with links to websites and contact information.

WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP: The most recent configuration for the wall apps is a vacuum-formed panel, made of polystyrene. However, the materials and precise shape of the apps are variables upon which you can decide. Perhaps the apps can be constructed of a more sustainable, recyclable material. Perhaps there is a more efficient way to fabricate them. This is why we need your help. It is our view that by soliciting input from others, like you, and by giving up some authorship over the project's design, more compelling leaps forward can emerge. We're certain you'll come up with ideas we've never imagined. 

WHEN IT'S DUE (UPDATED): January 15, 2009.

WHERE TO GET STARTED: In the links below, we've provided all the information you'll need to get started. You can see app ideas we've come up with so far, view the wall panels' various geometric configurations, and download app drawings in various formats (3DM, 3DS, and PDF). Once you've come up with a brilliant idea, you can upload your idea to the site as well. We'll post the app ideas as we receive them for comments and discussion.  


"APP" IDEAS. You can take these and improve upon them, use them as a jumping-off point, or ignore them completely. (Note: these were designed for an earlier panel configuration - the shape of the panel has changed.)

"APP" VARIABLES. We've provided a diagram and a quick animation that shows the various shapes that the wall panels can take on. Within these three variables, there are hundreds of possible shape configurations.


"APP" FAMILIES. Here you can see a few examples of what different app geometries might look like as a repeated, panelized wall system. Apps can be repeated uniformly, intermittently, or in combination with other app designs. 


"APP" DIMENSIONS. The generic shape and size of a baseline app panel is shown here. You can just jot these dimensions down and go from there, or you can jump down to the next link to download drawings we've made for you.

"APP" DOWNLOADS. You can go here to download digital models in 3DM and 3DS formats as well as a PDF line drawing with dimensions.


"APP" UPLOADS. This is where you can submit app ideas (scanned drawings, photos of models, digital models, renderings, animations, etc.). Once we have a critical mass of submissions, we'll post them.


LET US KNOW. Once you've uploaded your scheme(s) to our website, please drop us an email. Look for a link to an "App Gallery" and discussion board on this page in the near future.