Architecture student Tyler Short has come up with a new “window blind” concept called Penumbra. Unlike traditional blinds, Penumbra uses mechanical louvers that have ability to shift both horizontally and vertically, creating a wider range of shade from the sun.
The innovative idea may never come to fruition but Short certainly believes in his way of thinking, saying the louvers can rotate upwards to act as “a horizontal shading element and light itself.”
This project was designed to offer a kinetic and mechanical solution to a problem that would otherwise be nearly impossible to solve with static architectural components: providing shading across a building facade for both low evening sun and high afternoon sun conditions. Our solution was a series of vertical shading louvers, that can independently pivot to maximize solar protection, and when the sun reaches an altitude in which vertical louvers would be ineffective, completely rotate upwards to act as a horizontal shading element and light shelf. All of the mechanical components and gear ratios were fully resolved, and the result is a hand or computer-operated system that creates a beautiful undulating form across the facade.