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Magnetic Ferrofluid Pattern Facade Technology: Atmospheric light mitigating facade for digital art science museum

Part 2 Project 2013
Zi Tong Teo
National University of Singapore | Singapore
The thesis seeks to engage in a dialogue with a natural phenomenon, operating between the artistic quality of light modification to create a presence in space, as well as the technical invention of solar radiation mitigating system.

Natural Phenomenon

Façade technology, particularly curtain wall, is re-examined as the primary source of heat gap through buildings. The materiality and solar heat with the use of magnetism as secondary addition to the curtain wall are investigated. The properties of ferrofluid, a fluid that contains iron, can be magnetized and its loses strength with increasing temperature. The Ferrofluid create a natural labyrinth pattern with different porosity affected by the distance to the magnets.

Moving Prints

The façade is divided into combinations of magnetic fluid containers, each with a 2mm gap of ferrofluid within, and magnetic actuators comprising of small magnets kept in place in two layers that creates an air gap. With the increasing solar heat gain, the actuator is activated and the magnetic fluid spreads across the curtain wall forming a type of solar screening. Electromagnets could be used for manual control of the porosity independant of the heat actuators, for social interaction and atmospheric control.

Republic Polytechnic

Proposed as an extension to and for the residents of the area in woodlands, a digital art science museum with primary servings to the students of the campus of Republic Polytechnic

Placed within the woods, isolated but in grid physically and programmatically with the existing school buildings, the digital art science museum is connected yet distinct architecturally.

The museum is kept simply as 8 blocks with each block having different experiential spaces.

Museum Typology

Each distinctive block varies in method of deploying the effect of porosity and screening of the m.f.p technology to create spaces which vary in natural light and spaces. The 4.5 of the 8 block strategy is natural ventilated as well as the main circulation ramp.


Ferrofluid facade as a potential solution for reducing the cooling load of tropical tall buildings. Its light control properties enable new atmospheric spaces to be created with a natural pattern.

Zi Tong Teo

Assc. Prof Joseph Lim Ee Man
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