The SEEDpod dwelling prototype enters into a pact with nature as it interacts with local climatic conditions. The envelope creates a selective filter, which protects the interior from varying environmental conditions. Active and passive elements include a 9 Kw photovoltaic roof array, operable wall assemblies with insulated panels and glazing systems with ventilation options. The primary objective is to provide a compact, highly efficient building strategy that can advantageously interact with natural forces. A remedial engagement with the local environment provides further direction for our performance-based design process. The intention is to literally grow liveable interior and exterior spaces. An important catalyst for the development of regional building intelligence at the University of Arizona: College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture is the design studio with associated materials laboratory. Research prototypes developed in this empirically engaged setting of thinking, drawing and building are artefacts of a uniquely integrated way of working. Iterative development over time in service of both the particular condition of experimentation and also comprehensive final integration into a full-scale assembly is imperative to the method. Prototype system development is the focus of this presentation, along with fabrication and assembly of a dwelling unit. Research and development programs at both the graduate and undergraduate level became essential components of the fully operable prototype: a pivoting structural rib assembly, which facilitates adaptability to optimum solar incidence, a compliant shading system that registers the movement of light throughout the day, and the thermally tuned water wall. Prototyping, performance analysis and implementation of the compliant shading system within the holistic framework of the building envelope is the focus of this investigation.