A Study on the Impact of Climate Adaptive Building Shells on Indoor Comfort


  • Adele Ricci Student, School of Engineering and Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna
  • Caterina Ponzio Architect, Vicenza
  • Jacopo Gaspari Professor, School of Engineering and Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna
  • Emanuele Naboni Professor, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen




adaptive façade, parametric design, daylight, energy efficiency, building shells


Energy savings and indoor comfort are widely considered to be key priorities in the current architectural design trends. Additionally, the well-being and satisfaction of end users is a relevant issue when a human-centred perspective is adopted. The application of Climate Adaptive Building Shells (CABS) compared to conventional façades offers appropriate opportunities for tackling these challenges. This paper reports the outcomes of a study performed on CABS in order to optimise the indoor comfort while calibrating the configuration of a dynamic façade module. The horizontal louvres of the adaptive façade are moved by an actuator that exploits the expansion of a thermo-active resin as it melts, by its absorption of energy. The actuation mechanism depends on the outdoor air temperature conditions and does not require a supply of energy. The performed simulation evidenced a decrease of approximately 4°C indoors when the dynamic module is fully efficient (21st June at 12 p.m.). Furthermore, the lux level is always within the comfort range for an office building (500-2000 lux) during both winter and summer scenarios. The optimised solution shows a substantial gain for energy performance and environmental sustainability. Moreover, the uniformity of distribution of daylight illuminance across the entire space is another associated advantage, giving interesting insights into potentials for architectural façade design.


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How to Cite

Ricci, A., Ponzio, C., Gaspari, J., & Naboni, E. (2018). A Study on the Impact of Climate Adaptive Building Shells on Indoor Comfort. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 7(1), 27–40. https://doi.org/10.7480/jfde.2019.1.2778