This research seeks to develop and demonstrate a new dynamic building enclosure system, the AURA, that actively responds to environmental conditions such as sun and light while transforming the boundary between indoors and out. The AURA is an artistically designed dynamic system that is a responsive mediator to the ambient environment through a technology-based sensing and response sub-system that mimics the bio-responsiveness of the skin of living organisms. The underlying design of the AURA is based on geometric principles that allow the system to be scaled up or down to adapt to a range of building dimensional constraints.

At its foundation this research is concerned with two domains associated with transformable boundaries, one physical and the other meta-physical. Both domains merge in the experience of the observer as the system transforms its appearance in response to changes in the ambient environment. The physical transformation relates to the movement of the system from open to closed in response to stimulation from the external environment, analogous to the opening and closing of the iris of an eye. As outdoor temperatures and cloud cover change, and the sun moves throughout the day and throughout the seasons the system responds to reduce heating and cooling loads and control glare while maximizing the benefits of daylight. In this way AURA is a high performance system that contributes to resource conservation and the sustainability of buildings while supporting high quality indoor environments.

The second domain of inquiry for AURA is the meta-physical. The AURA is a beautiful system that evokes a perceptual response of the viewer. This perceptual response occupies the meta-physical space between the object (AURA) and the cognitive processing of mental stimulation. The mental stimulation is the result of experiencing the interaction of the AURA with environmental variables including light level, solar intensity, sun position and outdoor air temperature.