Thermal Comfort

Integration of Outdoor Thermal and
Visual Comfort in Parametric Design

Emanuele Naboni
Associate Professor, Institute of Architectural Technology, The Royal Danish Academy, School of
Architecture, Copenhagen, Denmark

Parametric modeling tools are increasingly adopted in design practice. Various plug-ins for Grasshopper – the most widely used parametric tool – allow the creation of mathematically originated geometries from environmental data such as solar geometry, wind direction and velocity, radiation intensity, illuminance levels, etc.

However, a critical look at the application of parametric methods in the practice of design reveals that their use is still predominantly based on aesthetical, structural and fabrication criteria. The opportunities that these tools offer to design strategies and components that are responsive to outdoor and indoor comfort conditions are starting to be explored at research level, but are rarely comprehensively integrated in the education and practice of architecture.

To investigate the links between parametric form-making and outdoor comfort, a workshop at the Royal Danish Academy – aimed at the design of shelters – combined Parametric and Environmental Simulation Tools (ESTs) with the use of the most recent Grasshopper’s plug-ins. Grasshopper’s plug-ins. In search of thermal and visual comfort optimization, the students
employed these parametric design tools to achieve responsive geometrical design solutions.

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