Nikola Znaor

Airshade (Woolshade)

PATENT PENDING EP - 14165178.6

1st Prize Adream 2012  Architecture Competition

6th Prize Holcim Awards Europe (Next Generation) 2014

Buildings and processes like cooling, are one of the biggest energy consumers on earth contributing to the worrying challenges of today. Therefore, sustainability should not only be considered as something that saves the earth and helps nature, it should simply raise the question of being senseless or not. Airshade is a continuation of the award-winning "Woolshade" concept that was selected out of 532 projects from 28 countries, and prototyped in 2014.

Airshade tends to make responsive shading self-sustaining, replacing complex systems with simple natural processes being a high performance and intelligent shading system that works on physical principles. Airshade consists out of multiple shutter units. The main umbrella like construction of each unit is made out of rods around a metal core with an air container with filtered air. When exposed to solar radiation the air expands its volume and actuates a pneumatic cylinder that opens the shutters. Once opened, the shutters prevent the sun from coming inside of a building. As time passes and the solar radiation reduces, the air cools down, creating under-pressure and the shutters close.


The size, scale and materials of the shutters can vary, and can therefore be applied on a broad variety of buildings, and is no constraint to the design or aesthetics of the object applied to (which is often the case in sustainable architecture). Mostly all parts are made of inexpensive and accessible materials that do not require complex assembly or production processes and are easily recyclable and pre-fabricated. It is an low - tech solution, yet an extremely advanced one with a potential for global application and rapid implementation. Furthermore, it does not need any maintenance, as it is entirely self-sustaining.

Because of its ability to interact with the sun it responds locally to objects such as buildings, vegetation and clouds. This makes it possible for the shading system to remain open in some places on the building where there is no direct sunlight. Hereby, the comfort of the user is improved in comparison to conventional shading as well as the thermal regulation of a building. The shutters are slightly moved from the façade to act as a rear- ventilated façade, eliminating heat behind the shutters.

© 2016 Nikola Znaor