• Iva Kremsa, Kenzo Nakokoji and Etien Santiago, Wood and Hygroscopic Behaviour, Performative Wood Studio (Achim Menges), Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), Cambridge, Massachusetts;
  • climate-responsiveness;
  • Venus flytrap;
  • anisotropy;
  • hygroscopicity;
  • conifer cones;
  • Pinophyta;
  • Department for Form Generation and Materialisation;
  • HFG Offenbach;
  • Institute of Computational Design (ICD), University of Stuttgart;
  • ‘matrix’ of hemicelluloses and lignin;
  • Steffen Reichert, Achim Menges and Florian Krampe, Hygroscopic Envelopes;
  • veneer-composite elements;
  • FAZ Summer Pavilion;
  • River Main;
  • convertible building skin;
  • Responsive Surface Structure


Most attempts towards climate-responsive architecture rely heavily on elaborate technical equipment superimposed on otherwise inert material constructs. In contrast, natural systems embed all the responsive capacity in the structure of the material itself. In this article, Achim Menges and Steffen Reichert present the development of biomimetic responsive material systems that require neither the supply of external energy nor any kind of mechanical or electronic control. They introduce their research on physically programming the humidity-reactive behaviour of these systems, and explain the possibilities this opens up for a strikingly simple yet truly ecologically embedded architecture in constant feedback and interaction with its surrounding environment. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.