Animal or airplane ply? NEON reinvents Finnish hut as kinetic ‘Shiver House’

Through its dynamicity, Shiver House, an “animal-like” kinetic structure built out of Finnish airplane ply, aims to link people with ‘living’ architecture and its surrounding landscape.

by STIRworld Published on : Sep 05, 2020

Shiver House is a profound reinvention of the vernacular Finnish Hut (mökki), designed by NEON, an award-winning design practise based in Margate, UK. The project is also a new version - celebrating NEON’s fifth anniversary - of their earlier installation for the Barfotastigen exhibition in Korppoo, Finland in 2015.

02 mins watch Shiver House explores the idea that architecture can be made to seem ‘alive’ | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
Shiver House explores the idea that architecture can be made to seem ‘alive’ Video: Courtesy of NEON

Built out of Finnish airplane ply, the project is an “animal-like” kinetic structure that moves and adjusts to surrounding natural forces. Shiver House envisions the idea of architecture being an emotional link between its occupants and the natural world it sits within, and between people and the buildings they inhabit. The architecture embodies ‘animateness’, with the purpose to induce a 'deep and long-lasting relationship' between structure, person and nature.

  • Airplane Ply is used to build the new edition of Shiver House | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    Airplane Ply is used to build the new edition of Shiver House Image: Courtesy of NEON
  • The kinetic shingles respond to weather conditions | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    The kinetic shingles respond to weather conditions Image: Courtesy of NEON

Shiver House employs 600 kinetic counter-weighted shingles that transform it from a functional shelter into an experiential design. The shingles rotate into open and closed conditions, reacting to changing weather conditions like rain and snow. People sheltered by the structure can enjoy the dynamic environment as the moving shingles modulate the internal light levels and reveal views of the landscape.

  • A timber structure serves as the structural framework for the ‘house’ | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    A timber structure serves as the structural framework for the ‘house’ Image: Courtesy of NEON
  • The shingles rotate between an open and closed configuration | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    The shingles rotate between an open and closed configuration Image: Courtesy of NEON

“While the world is adjusting to the new reality of COVID-19 I feel that there needs to be a greater emphasis given to the way architecture, art and design might be used as a means of reducing anxiety, connecting us with nature and bringing people together again in public spaces. Shiver House’s architecture is in a constant state of transformation and ‘performs’ with the ever-changing flows of the wind, it is an ideal means of grounding people in the present moment,” says Mark Nixon of NEON.

  • Metal wires and counterweights hold the shingles in place | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    Metal wires and counterweights hold the shingles in place Image: Courtesy of NEON
  • The shelter invites light inside and reveals views of the landscape | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    The shelter invites light inside and reveals views of the landscape Image: Courtesy of NEON

A simple timber structure serves as the framework that holds rows of tensioned steel wires. The steel wires are employed as batons and are designed to hold the airplane ply shingles counterweighted using a stainless-steel nut and bolt. The shingles are cut and folded, and then soaked in a protective oil kindly donated by Virtasen Maalitehdas.

  • Axonometric drawing of the structure | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    Axonometric drawing of the structure Image: Courtesy of NEON
  • Construction details for the shingles | Shiver House | NEON | STIRworld
    Construction details for the shingles Image: Courtesy of NEON

The original installation was so successful that it was kept on-site beyond its four-month term, soon witnessing summer concerts as part of the renowned Jazz festival “Korppoo Sea Jazz”. The conceptual piece presents architecture as a poetic, living and dynamic element that has the potential to change the way we relate to the landscape around us.

(Text by Ankitha Gattupalli, intern at stirworld.com)

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