Biology and Bricks

by Mary Martialay on March 8, 2011

Jason Vollen, an associate professor of architecture and associate director of the Rensselaer Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, and student Kelly Winn, earned a mention in the article “Rethinking the Brick” from the Boston Globe.

The article chronicles the winners of the “Brickstainable” competition focused on finding new potential in the ancient old building material. According to the article:

Jason Vollen and Kelly Winn of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute created hollow, honeycomb shaped bricks that use small ridges on the outside to create “self-shading”: the ridges ensure that, throughout the day, different parts of the brick absorb the sun’s heat, while others cool. The air pockets inside the bricks can be sealed off, so that they serve as reservoirs of warm or cool air for winter and summer — but they can also be left open, creating a beautiful open-brick wall with a latticework effect. These strategies are used in cactuses and termite mounds, too.

The photo above shows the brick developed by Vollen and Winn.

For more on the project, visit the Brickstainable site.

Congratulations to Prof. Vollen and Kelly Winn!