Architecture student Tyler Short has developed an alternative to the traditional window shade – mechanical louvres that move in three dimensions to adapt to sunlight at different times of the day (+ movie).


Like vertical indoor blinds, the conceptual Penumbra shading system would hang down in front of windows and could be pivoted left and right to adapt to the east and west orientations of the sun. But it would also be able to fold upwards to create a horizontal shade against the high afternoon sun.
“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,” explained Short, who created the design for his architecture degree at the University of Oregon.
“Our solution was a series of vertical shading louvres, that can independently pivot to maximise solar protection, and when the sun reaches an altitude in which vertical louvres would be ineffective, completely rotate upwards to act as a horizontal shading element and light shelf,” he added.
Short has produced a short animation to demonstrate the concept, showing the louvres powered by a system of cogs and gears. The designer says the system could be powered by either hand or computer.
Put into motion, the shades create an undulating ripple across the facade.