Environmental Ceramics

Environmental Ceramics Merging the digital and the physical in the design of a performance -based facade system

Guilherme Giantini, Larissa Negris de Souza, Daniel Turczyn, Gabriela Celani
State University of Campinas

Figure 1 Framework of models and design layers. Font: Authors, 2019.

Environmental comfort and space occupancy are essential considerations in architectural design process. Façade systems deeply impact both aspects but are usually standardized.

However, performance-based facade systems tackle these issues through computational design to devise non-homogeneous elements.

Figure 2 Parametric definition of the facade system’s components setting. Font: Authors, 2019.

This work proposes a ceramic facade system designed according to a performance-based process grounded on environmental analysis and parametric design to allow adaptation and geometric variation according to specific building demands on environmental comfort and functionality.

Figure 3 Digital workflow. Font: Authors, 2019.

In this process, the Design Science Research method guided the exploration of both design and evaluation, bridging the gap between theory and practice.

Positive facade environmental performance were found from digital and physical models assessment in terms of radiation, illuminance, dampness (with ventilation) and temperature.

Figure 4 Physical model’s front opening with ceramic components representing the proposed facade. Font: Authors, 2019.

Computational processes minimized radiation inside the building while maximized illuminance. Their association influenced on operative temperature, which dropped according to local dampness and material absorption.

Figure 5 Radiation simulation of the four slabs of the generic building without the facade system (left) and considering the designed system (right). Font: Authors, 2019.

Accordingly, this design process associates not only environmental comfort and functionality concepts but also adaptability, flexibility, mass customization, personal fabrication, additive manufacturing concepts, being an example architectural design changes in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Figure 6 Daylight simulation of the four slabs of the generic building without the facade system (left) and considering the designed system (right). Font: Authors, 2019.

This paper presents the design research process of a performance-based facade system for contemporary office buildings and was developed in a Brazilian graduate course during the second semester of 2018.

Figure 7 Octopus’ graph displaying the facade iterations by daylight and radiation values. Font: Authors, 2019.

Pantazis and Gerber (2018) highlight that facade panels are a complex component due to the combination of structural, environmental, functional and aesthetic parameters. Facade systems can also be analysed in terms of conceptual layers: building and design selected performance criteria.

Figure 8 Performance-based selection of optimized morphological instance in which radiation levels are minimized and daylight levels are maximized simultaneously. Font: Authors, 2019.

This consideration leverages the need and importance of some performance aspects and is a reminder of the aspects that should have in-depth development (Emmit et al. 2004).

Differently from usual facade systems, in which the components are morphologically homogeneous and the solution is standardized, performance-based facade systems commonly take computational design to devise non-homogeneous elements that meet environmental comfort criteria and also relate to building internal functions.

Figure 9 Operative temperature for December 21st at 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Font: Authors, 2019.

Other essential criteria associated with industrialization aspects are embedded in the design process, such as adaptability, flexibility, and mass customization (Kolarevic 2003).

These characteristics are included in the use of additive manufacturing, which was considered in this design exercise.

Aiming at a system performance from those design criteria, this study embraced specific aspects and methods, such as material properties, environmental analyses and computational optimization.

A parametric process was deployed to synthesize all the constraints and conditions, assuring a personal, customized and replicable facade system.

Figure 10 Graph of the physical model’s cross ventilation experiment considering dampness and temperature. Font: Authors, 2019.

The Design Science Research (DSR) methodology was applied in this study due to its characteristic of encompassing several methodological procedures with the potential to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

DSR emphasizes both the design and the evaluation of the artefact and its methodological procedures aim to obtain a solution to be generalized and replicated in similar situations (Dresch et al. 2015).

Figure 11 Final radiation, illuminance and temperature levels. Font: Authors, 2019.

In comparison to traditional methods, the authors demonstrate that while these mainly describe and explore a research problem, DSR focuses on designing and creating systems that do not exist yet. The facade system proposed in this short-period research undertook this method, using design as a research process.

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