Architectural Convertibles: Towards an alternative artistic approach to designing interactive architectural environments
Research Project , 2016 – 2019

Our project is inspired by the notion of architectural matter/flesh. The term ‘flesh’ is an architectural metaphor, which counters the reductive understanding of a building envelope as flat and thin membrane. In our project, the architectural flesh, in contrast to the architectural skin, is understood as a thick entity, a bulky substance.
In relation to that 3-dimensional understanding of architectural flesh, the core problem we seek to challenge is the yet unfulfilled role of architectural matter in interactive structures. In the current research and practice, it is often treated as a flat thin layer which covers the interactive technical gear. Designers seldom engage the 3-dimensional qualities of architectural flesh to enable a direct contact of users with architecture, achieved through the touch of the hands and/or manual transformations.

In our project we will challenge this notion, by seeking for unconventional ways to mobilize the architectural flesh and to turn it into a 3-dimensional interface, which cultivates an intensified tactile relationship between architecture and its users.

The project will be carried out in three phases, in which we will work on the verge of digital design, design methodology, applied esthetics, digital fabrication, physical computing and interaction design.

We believe that our investigation could inspire the future design of interactive environments. Given that many of today’s interactive structures represent prototypes of the future user-adaptive building skins, it seems that any alternative glimpses into how to enrich their artistic production processes could significantly affect the image of responsive architecture of the future.


Malgorzata Zboinska (contact)

Forskare vid Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Architectural theory and methods

Monica Billger

Professor vid Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Architectural theory and methods

Fredrik Nilsson

Professor vid Architecture


Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Stockholm, Sweden

University of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack)

Stockholm, Sweden

University of Borås

Borås, Sweden


Swedish Research Council (VR)

Funding Chalmers participation during 2016–2020 with 4,950,000.00 SEK

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Information and Communication Technology

Areas of Advance

Building Futures

Areas of Advance

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