SmartWrap™ represents a new way of thinking about a building envelope. It is a dramatic alternative to how a conventional facade is manufactured, functions and appears. It proposes to replace the conventional "bulky" wall with a composite of millimeter scale that integrates climate control, power, lighting, and information display on a single substrate. Through the deployment of deposition printed organic photovoltaics and organic light-emitting diodes onto thin plastic layers, SmartWrap™ is lightweight, energy-gathering, mass customizable and sustainable. It is applicable to commercial and residential buildings on both large and small scales, and can be mass customized for a range of conditions and desired aesthetic programs, the printed pattern dictated by the needs of the particular project.
In addition, SmartWrap™ is a service. KieranTimberlake offers SmartWrap™ services to clients interested in obtaining architectural designs employing the latest innovations in building materials.
The SmartWrap™ product is designed to realize significant environmental benefits relative to current transparent envelope systems. OPVs inexpensively harvest solar energy and off-set the total amount of energy used by the building it encloses. OLEDs increase its multi-functionality by generating light with the energy it harvests from the sun. SmartWrap™ is lightweight resulting in a lower total embodied energy when compared to glass; and its thickness, just 3mm, results in large surface area coverage with a minimal volume of material relative to glass curtain-wall assemblies. Due to its lightness it can be erected in a fraction of conventional building time, with greater efficiency. At the end of its useful life, SmartWrap™ can be easily disassembled and fed into a recycling stream.
KieranTimberlake began the research and development of SmartWrap™ in 2002, collaborating with various industry partners to engineer and fabricate a prototype of the material. It was unveiled at the inaugural SOLOS exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2003, and traveled to the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the NextFest in San Francisco and the Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany.
During the development of the first prototype, we pursued emerging systems including phase change materials (PCM) for temperature control; organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) for lighting and data display, performing in conjunction with organic thin-film transistors; and organic photovoltaic cells to power the OLED system. At the time, some components such as OLED and PCM technologies were only emerging, and there was no developed system for organic printing onto a substrate. For the purposes of the exhibition in 2003, it was necessary for the systems to be adhered to the PET.
In 2008, the second SmartWrap™ prototype was deployed at Cellophane House, an 1800 SF dwelling commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art for the exhibition Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling. To experiment with active and passive thermal strategies, the SmartWrap™ wall assembly consisted of four functioning layers stretched on an extruded aluminum frame, each wall panel consisting of an outer transparent PET weather barrier, an inner PET layer with thin-film photovoltaic cells, an inner layer of solar heat and UV blocking film and an interior layer of PET. A vented cavity between the PET layers is designed to trap heat in the winter and vent it in the summer, reducing the amount of energy required to heat and cool the house.
During the exhibition, monitors on the west facade of the house collected thermal data to provide a more complete understanding of the insulative capacities of the building envelope, the efficacy of the thermal stack, and the dynamics between outdoor temperatures and the interior environment of the house. After the exhibition, the house was un-stacked from the top down, disassembled, and placed in storage for redeployment at a new location, with the SmartWrap™ panels remaining intact.