In the garden of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, wanderers might pass through to hear a machine moving above their heads and the light getting dimmer. It's not a drone encroaching in on their space -- well, not exactly.
It's the Elytra Filament Pavillion, a 2,000-square-foot structure made of hexagonal spaces. Over the next five months, Elytra well spend time studying the people who walk, sit, our lounge beneath it to learn when it should provide shade and when to let the bright sun through.
The canopy itself is already collecting that data. It sounds creepy, but it’s actually pretty awesome: Thermal imaging cameras embedded in the Elytra pavilion track the movements of visitors—where they go, how long they linger, where groups tend to convene. Fiber optic sensors woven into the structure measure temperature and internal forces. Menges says this data will allow his team to use environmental and human factors to generate an algorithm that dictates the form of new components, and fabricate them on-site.