Most attempts towards climate-responsive architecture heavily rely on elaborate technical equipment superimposed on otherwise inert material constructs. In contrast, natural systems embed all the responsive capacity in the structure of the material itself. In this chapter, Achim Menges and Steffen Reichert present the development of biomimetic responsive material systems that require neither the supply of external energy nor any kind of mechanical or electronic control. They introduce their research on physically programming the humidity-reactive behaviour of these systems and explain the possibilities this opens up for a strikingly simple yet truly ecologically embedded architecture in constant feedback and interaction with its surrounding environment.

This chapter also expands on the HygroSkin – Meteorosensitive Pavilion project, an exploration of the architectural implementation of weather-responsive surface structures. Commissioned by the FRAC Centre in Orléans, France, for its permanent collection, this travelling pavilion was first shown in the exhibition “ArchiLab – Naturalizing Architecture” in 2013.