Biomimetic Shading Techniques of the Esplanade Theatre

The Esplanade theater and commercial district in Singapore by DP Architects and Michael Wilford hosts an elaborate skin inspired by the Durian plant. The external shading system is also responsive in that the triangular louvers adjust during the day to the suns angle and position. More images and words from the architect.

The above image shows the stunning interior as a result of the external skin. The below passage was taking from the architect’s website, it further illustrates the technology behind the scheme:

“A secondary sun shading lattice is used with folded sunshades which gradually transform in shape and orientation. The resulting dynamic and ever-changing mesh of dappled sunlight and shadows has given this world class performing arts venue its distinctively Singaporean personality.”

For those interested, Layla Shaikley also dedicated a biomimetic project to the Durian’s structure. We have an entire post dedicated to that project here.

This is an image of a Durant plant for reference:

Another view of the skin in the sun:


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  2. Emily /Reply

    This used to be the Singapore Arts Centre right? I did piece comparing it to the optics of polar bear hair (which isn’t white, it’s clear!) that manipulates light and optics to manage heat distribution. Singapore is a hot place!

    So glad I found this site, biomimetic architecture is a real interest of mine. I wrote a small portfolio of 7 articles outlining different ways natural structures have influenced architecture to create more sustainable buildings.


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