Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Hygromorphic materials for sustainable responsive architecture

Lookup NU author(s): Artem Holstovs, Professor Ben BridgensORCiD, Professor Graham Farmer



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


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 employing the inherent properties of available materials, such as the moisture-induced opening and closing of conifer cones. This mechanism can be replicated to produce low-tech low-cost hygromorphic (moisture-sensitive) materials with the response driven by shrinkage and swelling wood. This paper explores the possibility of adaptive building systems based on incorporation of hygromorphic materials and argues that they present opportunities for architecture that is passively attuned to the variable natural rhythms of the internal and external environments, and that addresses a wide range of sustainability considerations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holstov A, Bridgens BN, Farmer G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Construction and Building Materials

Year: 2015

Volume: 98

Pages: 570-582

Print publication date: 15/11/2015

Online publication date: 31/08/2015

Acceptance date: 26/08/2015

Date deposited: 26/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0950-0618

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.08.136


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric