Imagine lounging at a spa poolside, relaxing as the delicate interplay of light and shadow filtering from the canopy above melts your stress away. But instead of trees setting the mood, the roof above is composed of two perforated moving Tessellate panels designed by Chuck Hoberman. Welcome to the KAFD Portal Spas — two lush retreats intended for Riyadh by architectural firm WORKSBUREAU. One for men and one for women, the getaways will resemble giant greenhouses, complete with lush gardens, a three-story tower of plants, and a massive atrium.
Chuck Hoberman, famous for the Hoberman Sphere among many other inventions, has designed a roof out of pierced titanium that moves to create a shifting kaleidoscope effect. Powered by small linear motors, the two layers of metal overlap, making for a continuous transforming pattern of sunlight on the floors below. In the extreme climate of Saudi Arabia, the roof allows for diffused, dappled light, mimicking the atmosphere created by a forest canopy. With no plastic or glass filling the holes, the panels double as ventilation, and a glazed facade that sits inside the panels helps to keep insects and sand from entering the spa.
The KAFD Portal Spas are set to begin construction in 2014.