When city living crowds the souls of the outdoor-loving Finns, individuals and families escape to their “mökki,” a basic hut that provides both protection from and connection to nature. This inspired NEON, a London-based design firm, to create a weather-responsive installation for the Barfotastigen (Barefoot Path) Exhibition 2015, in Korppoo, Finland, which focused on environmental and site-specific art.
The firm designed the Shiver House, a kinetic interpretation of the mökki animated by natural forces.
The Shiver House consists of a timber structure on legs, a simple apex form and a shingled roof, a common mökki design. However, this is where its resemblance to a rustic Finnish hut ends. The apex shape is formed by tensioned steel wires. Each of the wires holds a number of folded and cut polypropylene shingles counterweighted by a stainless steel nut and bolt. The long, lightweight shingles react to environmental conditions, rotating to a closed position in response to wind, rain or snow. Constant motion, a feathery appearance and internal modulation of light make the Shiver House seem alive to visitors who look at or sit inside it.
The key to the design is thinking of shingles that move like kinetic sculpture as potentially functional architectural elements. NEON is looking at more permanent applications beyond the bio-mimicry of Shiver House, such as using environmentally responsive shingles in architectural facades or naturally ventilated interior spaces.