ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design  |  DOCTORAL THESES  |  HOLISTIC DESIGN OF BUILDING ENVELOPES 
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Holistic Approaches to the Conceptual Design of Building Envelopes
F. Bertagna
2020 -


An example of a load-bearing and sun-shading building envelope.

Building envelopes represent the main interface between the interiors and the exterior of a building. Qualitative and quantitative aspects belonging to diverse disciplines, such as architecture, structural engineering, and building physics, are all at stake during the design process of building envelopes. Holistic frameworks allow taking into consideration such aspects simultaneously, as opposed to sequential approaches in which different design aspects are considered and conceived in a sequential fashion. Particularly in the early design stage, the ability to correlate a number of design aspects gives the opportunity to perform comprehensive design explorations.

The objective of the present research is to develop and validate a tool-based operative method for the conceptual design of building envelopes that considers architectural, structural, and solar-related aspects simultaneously while preserving the simplicity and flexibility needed in the early design stage. The proposed approach is grounded on geometry-based methods such as graphic statics and graphical methods for solar design. Case studies will provide a crucial support in testing the method and ultimately outlining the potential of holistic approaches in the conceptual design of building envelopes.

last modified 28.1.2021