Demi Fang


With a design framework applicable to any site in the world, the Pluma installation envisions a lightweight future where structures generate more energy than they embody. Earned honorable mention at the IASS 2020 Design Competition.

Render by collaborator Mohamed Ismail.

Pluma demonstrates how form can follow function across disciplines and performance metrics. The design features photovoltaic membranes suspended in a lightweight cable system, resembling a flock of birds in flight.

The shape and orientation of the membrane ensemble is precisely tuned by an optimization algorithm to maximize solar radiation exposure and power generation on the site in Surrey.

Images by Demi Fang and Caitlin Mueller.

Its supporting frame consists of standard timber elements assembled into cruciform sections, with simple, repeated connection details that are cost-effective. The foundation is a concrete slab hollowed out with compressed sawdust blocks as lost formwork, reducing the embodied energy compared to a typical slab by half.

Drawings by collaborators Eduardo Gascon and Paul Mayencourt.

Team collaborators: Demi Fang, Eduardo Gascon, Mohamed Ismail, Paul Mayencourt, Prof. Caitlin Mueller, Ramon Weber (Digital Structures at MIT)

Renders by collaborator Mohamed Ismail.