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Form-finding mechanism derived from plant movement in response to environmental conditions for building envelopes

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number101782
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Sustainable Cities and Society
Number of pages13
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date30/08/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The paper provides a mechanism of an eco-friendly building envelope that adapts itself to environmental conditions and its design principles. In particular, the proposed envelope helps to reduce energy consumption in buildings due to the use of bio-inspired materials. Although several bio-inspired design approaches in architecture are currently available, the implementation of these principles in real life projects is still a challenge. A major challenge is a difference between their structural systems and their functional scales that creates several problems in the application of the main concept. A few research studies have been carried out in the response of plants to environmental stimuli and changes by botanical scientists. However, the application of the principles behind these changes into the field of engineering especially architecture is yet to be investigated and developed despite the existence of a few examples. Furthermore, the development of materials, fabrication and construction technology in conjunction with the advancement of computer and parametric design technology have made it possible to employ the underlying principles and mechanisms in real buildings. The paper considers issues associated with plants responsive to environmental stimulus, integration of bio-materials into building design, and structural analogies related to the most recent bio-inspired building. The paper is divided into two main parts. In the first part, an introduction to the design concept of building envelopes, and its strategies are presented. A design methodology is also provided. This is followed by the presentation of the fundamental concepts of bio-inspired building envelopes. In the second part, an innovative method for façade design is proposed based on the obtained information. As an outcome, a movement mechanism that is derived from a plant called Ice plant seed capsules is used in the design of a building façade. Then a dynamic strategy is proposed to obtain the form of these bio-inspired design concepts. This dynamic strategy is under the effect of two functions; hydro-actuated texture and deformability based on bending-active capability. In general, the presented envelope is created by arranging a basic module in a regular network of a building facade that reacts to changing dry/wet conditions.