Nano Micro Macro 2018: Selected Projects

Jonathan Grinham, Lecturer in Architecture (Harvard GSD) + Joanna Aizenberg, Professor of Materials Science (Harvard SEAS)

Teaching Assistant: Pamela Cabrera.

Course Website


Project: Morpho

MORPHO is a platform that uses catalytic material as paint to make art specific to the air pollutant composition of an indoor space. Air pollutants in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are at consistently higher concentration levels indoors than outdoors, and they can be acutely as well as chronically toxic to inhabitants with prolonged exposure. To address this problem, we collaborated with the Wyss Institute / Aizenberg Lab to work with a novel process of synthesizing iridescent/opalescent catalytic nanostructures inspired by the structural colors of the Morpho butterfly wings. Our solution envisions a future where the current process of coating materials with this catalytic nanostructure can be performed through a printer assembly and/or deposited as paint (through suspension in a binder-solvent combination) via a print head – thus creating art that can also clean your air. 

Group: Margaret George, Mitsue Guerrero Monsalve, Oliver Luo with Anahide Nahhal and Robert Wang.

Project: EZ-Breezy

This project investigates the use of self-actuating responsive materials in the architectural context. We focused on how these technologies could be used to rethink the trickle vent, a part of the built environment that is increasingly required by code to bring in fresh air but causes an increase in energy consumption. Our solution is to use bi-layer material such as mylar foils and hygroscopic wood to create temperature and humidity responsive layers, which can be tuned to different climate zones. The result is a trickle vent that only brings in fresh air when the conditions are right and fits within a standard double-hung window.

Group: Dan Tish, Suleiman Alhadidi, Victoria Patricia López Cabeza, Aditi Agarwal, Vaishnavi Magar.