Dynamic Architecture: 13 Buildings with Moving Parts

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Entire Italian villas spin in circles on wheels, solar-powered shades follow the sun, rooms zoom up into the air on telescopic stilts and windowless facades lift up on one end like shoebox mousetraps, all at the push of a button. These dynamic houses, apartment buildings, pavilions and offices have all sorts of moving parts, transforming as if of their own accord to change the views or keep the interiors cool.

Phalanstery Module

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Envisioned as a house for zero-gravity, where all surfaces are treated equally, the Phalanstery Module rotates a full turn per hour, with one of the surfaces becoming parallel to the ground every fifteen minutes. Say the creators, “In the middle of every 7.5 minute conversation, two people are bound to collide. Architectural program and activities become overpowered by the instinctive interpretations of our bodies against measurable dimensions.”

Sharifi-Ha House
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At the push of a button, three wooden volumes tucked inside a main structure turn their glass-capped ends in various directions. The residents of the Sharifi-Ha House by next office i Tehran can choose whether they want these particular rooms to be shaded or illuminated by the sun, as well as the view they prefer. Rotated fully out of their containing spaces, they telescope out over the driveway.

Villa Girasole
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Set on wheels and rails, northern Italy’s Villa Girasole rotates to follow the sun as it arches across the sky throughout the day, just like its namesake, the sunflower. Built in the 1930sby a wealthy engineer the two-story house rotates from a 42-meter-tall tower at the center, moving about 4 millimeters per second. It takes 9 hours and 20 minutes for it to rotate a full turn.

La Caja Oscura
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From afar, this house looks like a giant shoebox mouse trap, one end tilted up to reveal an elevated concrete slab. The windowless exterior moves up and down to either open the interior to the elements, or seal it off completely when the owners are gone. Designed by architect Javier Corvalan as the vacation home of a filmmaker, the house transforms with a manual winch. When closed, a pinhole allows the entire structure to function as a camera obscura, projecting an upside-down image of the landscape outside onto the interior walls.