Cloud Machine (RPWS-I)

The ability to create dynamic open spaces wherein its internal structure is non-existent remains the greatest challenge in architecture. However, nature provides such structures in abundance – where internal stability is imparted by external stability. It is this application which is sought in the creation of Cloud Machine (RPWS-I), which includes internal gravity systems; instead, the exterior skin bears the entire load carrying capacity. This exoskeleton approach frees the entire facility from the use of columns, thus providing a truly open floor plan.

The internal structure of Cloud Machine utilizes two ridged dynamic tendons that provide the primary support for transferring loads to the exoskeleton. This unique design approach provides the feeling of a weightless internal volumetric space. The dynamic tendons work in reverse to the columns by not transferring loads to the earth and allow all the floors of the facility to be completely devoid of any internal structure.

Designed to be an institutional facility of higher learning that also entails the mixed use commercial space on the ground floor, Cloud Machine draws its cues from the various states of matter. Density and lightness - and the transitions between different states - are the motifs for combining materials to create new substances. From this standpoint, the machine aesthetic is common in the exterior articulation of the form. However, the underlying theme is the physics of time, suspension and matter.

The first floor features a pedestrian level restaurant that provides access to the ground floor of the facility as well as to the administrative offices and student registration services. The remaining upper floors include classrooms, study areas and a lecture hall.  The fluidic forces of the exchange of gas and liquid are the central inner spatial themes of this facility. The ability of air bubbles to soar high into the zone of their gaseous world is provided by the multi-level atrium to the floating pads.

In addition to the floating pads and the elimination of all interior columns, the ability to change the state of matter from solid to liquid is evoked by the morphogenic language of Cloud Machine fenestration. The exterior glazing undulates in a continuous change in plane that allows for a continual change in daylight to surface illumination, in addition to creating an interior/exterior visual reference like the ripple effect and the change of refraction even as light passes from one medium to another.

Cloud Machine provides various energy saving systems - the Retractable Wind Energy System (RWES) tiling from -3 to +87 degrees for direct access to wind. This system supplies an additional 30% demand of peak energy when needed in order to provide energy storage systems when the facility is not occupied; this energy is supplied during peak demand hours, thus reducing energy costs for up to 50% of the facility’s life cycle. At times, when energy storage systems are at peak capacity, the RWES then switches from Energy Generation Mode to Mechanical Systems Mode (MSM).


Systems and Technologies:

  • Proprietary



  • Height - 90 ft

  • Floors - 5

  • Educational Gross Area - 349,233 ft^2

  • Business and Assembly Gross Area - 157,623 ft^2


Active Systems:

  • Variable Pitch Blade Control

  • Night Purge Ventilation

  • Electric Light Motion Control

  • Chemical Emergency Lighting System

  • Fiber Optic Data Network

  • Natural Gas Emergency Power Supply

  • Automated Daylight Reflection System

  • HVAC

  • Proprietary


Passive Systems:

  • Airflow Induced Natural Ventilation

  • Solar Chimney Air Convection

  • Chemically Active Humidity Control

  • Photosynthesis CO2 Reduction

  • Convection Air Circulation

  • Solar Radiation Water Heating System

  • Proprietary

  • Trapezoid

  • Curved Planes

  • Adaptable

  • Robotics

  • Aerodynamic

  • Wind Capture

  • Natural Air

  • Daylight Entry

  • Active Shading

  • Mixed Use

  • Solar Orientation

  • Maximized Views

  • Wind Capture

  • Scaleable Design

  • Regional Adaption

  • BIM Model Enabled

  • CFD Model Enabled

  • Deployable Wind System

  • EM Shielding

  • Vibration Isolation

  • Induction Coils

  • Noise Reduction

  • Surplus Demand

© 2020 by OpDes Architecture, P.C.

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