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This incredible shape-shifting house is based on a century-old maths problem

Experimental design and architecture firm D*Haus has come up with a shape-shifting house.

Called D*Dynamic, the house was conceived for harsh climatic extremes and can respond dynamically to changes in season and weather.

According to the company’s website, the D*Dynamic adapts from winter to summer by literally moving inside itself. Through a series of clever folding motions, the internal walls can become external facades and the doors can become windows. The movement relies on hydraulics and rails, based on a series of hinges.

In winter, the D*Dynamic begins in a closed square shape, allowing it to conserve energy and heat. However, as the days progress, the house mimics nature by unfolding like a flower.

The unfolding pattern contains eight positions and is based on the work of English mathematician Henry Ernest Dudeney.

In 1908, Dudeney worked out how to turn a perfect square into a perfect equilateral triangle, using three cuts, solving what is known as Haberdasher’s problem.

You may have seen it in one of those deceptively hard wooden puzzles that drive you bonkers (check out the solution in this nifty little gif).

The D*Dynamic gets its movement and shape from the Haberdasher’s solution, allowing the shape to change not just seasonally but also through the course of a day. Sustainable technology such as solar panels and natural ventilation are also used, making the house more eco-friendly.

And if you have always wanted to see a house with its very own life cycle, here is your chance:

Dynamic House life cycle

David Grunberg, founder of London-based D*Haus, was one of those people who decided early on what to do with their lives.

In 1987, Grunberg’s father, Maty, created a table based on the Haberdasher’s solution. The table left a deep impression on the younger Grunberg, who was inspired to study architecture and one-up the old man with Haberdasher houses. Take that, Pops!

Grunberg was later joined by architect Daniel Woolfsen and they have since been hard at work making the D*Dynamic a reality.

In 2014, the pair told The Daily Mail that the house would cost around $AU3.2 million to build, but that they hoped the price would come down to around $AU1.2 million in the near future.

The house still appears to be in the concept stage and raises a few questions for anyone who would actually want to live in it.

Most of us have trouble finding our keys in a non-moving house, so this could spell catastrophe. Furniture is another issue, as the shifting walls may change where you want things, or knock pieces over. Pets might not be too keen on those layout changes either.

Finally, there is the issue of safety. Imagine – you wake up in the middle of the night and your shape-shifting house is on fire. Where’s the door again?

Maybe the UK Housing Code agree, since two years later, the D*Dynamic hasn’t actually been built.

In the meantime, D*Haus is selling smaller products, such as tables and lights, that are based on the same mathematical principles.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based writer who has returned to Australia after living in Taiwan for 14 years. In his spare time he plays nerdy board games, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin.

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