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Poles designed a biomimetic housing capsule and won an international competition!

03 of November '22

Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki and Anna Wojtynia from Wroclaw University of Technology designed a biomimetic mobile housing capsule and won the international "Nomad" competition organized by the UNI platform. Their project "Adaptive Cell" is a futuristic housing unit inspired by the structure of a plant cell and drawing solutions from the construction of spider webs and chitinous beetle carapaces, among others.

The competition challenge was to design a futuristic mobile living unit for modern nomads. The facility was to be designed with lightweight materials that would make the capsule easy to carry, and inside the capsule should be the essentials of life. An important aspect was to optimize the unit for survival in various weather and climate conditions. The maximum allowable area of the facility should be ten square meters.

Projekt mobilnej kapsuły mieszkalnej, adaptacja na wodzie

Design of a mobile living capsule, adaptation on water

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

Main Prize for the Polish team

Among the submitted projects, the jury awarded the Main Prize to the team from Poland, consisting of: Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia, for the project "Adaptive Cell" made under the direction of Dr. Roman Czajka of the Wroclaw University of Technology. Three equivalent honorable mentions were also awarded.

The design of our mobile living capsule is primarily a response to problems arising in the era of pandemics. The need for remote learning or working outside the office have opened the horizons to a completely new lifestyle. As part of the UNI international competition, we designed a futuristic mobile living unit, capable of moving and adapting to both its user and diverse climatic conditions, the authors explain.

Projekt mobilnej kapsuły mieszkalnej, schemat

The mobile capsule is designed for one person

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

A home and a means of transportation in one

The architectural concept of the Polish architects combines the idea of a house as a shelter and a means of transportation. According to the authors, the project is intended to provide shelter for one person - a nomad, who, depending on his needs, will be able to create larger living structures, connecting the capsule with other users.

The user of the mobile unit will feel a sense of belonging to a single interior, while traveling around the globe and settling in any corner of the Earth for as long as he feels like it, the designers assure.

The capsule will move thanks to the use of futuristic solutions that will allow it to be transported in the air, on land and underwater, and the special materials from which it will be made will ensure its strength and tightness in various conditions.

Możliwość adaptacji zaczerpnięta z natury

adaptability drawn from nature

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

inspiration from nature

"Adaptive Cell addressesthe needs of users of all ages and fitness levels. With inspiration taken from nature, the unit adapts to the environment in an environmentally friendly way. In their search for a shape and functional layout, the graduates of Wroclaw University of Technology turned their attention to the structure of a plant cell. Both the shape of the building and the functions arranged in it were designed based on the visual scheme of the cell.

Projekt mobilnej kapsuły mieszkalnej, przekroje

design of the mobile living capsule, sections

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

The main living cap sule is located in the center, appropriately covered with successive shells. Each of them, represents a completely different function, dividing the unit into individual layers. The inner layer is a rack with an intelligent optimization function. The unit's shell is helpful in maintaining the center of gravity, adding or subtracting material in such a way as to give the capsule stability in a particular position.

Projekt mobilnej kapsuły mieszkalnej, adaptacja na pustyni

unit adaptation in the desert

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

energy from algae

The authors wondered how to supply the unit with energy without connecting it to the municipal grid. They also found the answer in nature, more specifically in algae. As they say, studies show that algae draw energy from the sun's rays much more efficiently than photovoltaic panels, and the pulp produced in the process, is used as biofuel to power the building. Algae grows at an express pace - doubling its volume in a day by up to several times, making it an extremely desirable material for powering an independent unit.

Rzut, łączenie komórek Rzut komórek

The units can combine to form larger ones

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

construction as strong as spider web and chitin

Looking for a construction material characterized by strength and adaptability, the young architects turned their attention to spider web. Cobweb is nothing more than a flexible, protein fiber, in some cases stronger to steel and lighter than cotton. So the designers proposed a material with similar properties, making it easier to connect units and adapt them to their surroundings.

Projekt mobilnej kapsuły mieszkalnej, struktura zewnętrzna

exterior structure of the unit

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

optimization, color variation, water extraction

Another important aspect was the capsule's ability to optimize, which the authors observed in tree crowns and bone tissue. On the other hand, the variability of structure and color was taken from the chitinous carapaces of beetles. A special species of onymacris beetle that lives in the desert acquires water through a special carapace coating covered with nodules. Inspired by its structure, the architects have equipped the capsule with a bionic layer, allowing it to acquire water - even in the most extreme conditions. What's more, this layer will be capable of regulating light access, by intelligently adjusting the size of the openings and its translucency, relative to the intensity of the light.

Projekt mobilnej kapsuły mieszkalnej, adaptacja w górach

adaptation in the mountains

© Karolina Kosmowska, Beniamin Walecki, Anna Wojtynia

All of the above-mentioned aspects were provided by solutions taken from biomimetics. This relatively new field of science teaches how much we can learn from observing nature and the processes within it, the authors conclude.

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