ETD system

Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-01292019-135006

Thesis type
Tesi di laurea magistrale
Lightweight Building Skins: a geometry-based approach integrating structural and user comfort aspects in the early design stage
Corso di studi
relatore Ing. Leccese, Francesco
relatore Ing. D'Acunto, Pierluigi
relatore Arch. Martino, Massimiliano
Parole chiave
  • structural design
  • visual comfort
  • solar analysis
  • integrated design
  • parametric design
Data inizio appello
Secretata d'ufficio
Data di rilascio
Riassunto analitico
The use of fully glazed facades for office buildings presents the advantage of allowing daylight into the indoor spaces, improving the comfort and well-being of the occupants. However, transparent facades can also represent a hazard for the comfort of the users as the penetration of solar radiation inside the building increases the internal thermal loads and leads to overheating during the summer. The inclusion of a suitable shading system on the façade is a method to mitigate this issue, providing effective protection of glazed surfaces throughout the whole year. However, in order to achieve an overall efficient solution, also other aspects should be taken into account. For instance, the preservation of a good visual connection with the outdoors and an effective use of daylight as an alternative to artificial light are both very relevant aspects. Structural performance is certainly another relevant point that has to be carefully investigated. The aim in this case should be to pursue efficient structures where a responsible and conscious use of materials allows to limit the costs and the overall weight of the system without compromising the capability of the structure to withstand other load cases than self-weight (i.e. wind loads).

The objective of this research is to develop an integrated, geometry-based design approach, incorporating user comfort aspects and structural demands of the shading elements in order to widen the range of possible solutions in the early design stage. Through the use of digital tools, designers are now able to perform several different simulations, investigating all the most relevant aspects related to the building industry like the ones mentioned above. However, the integration of aspects belonging to different expertise normally happens in a quite advanced design stage, compromising a direct and complete exploration of the design solution space.

After a first study of daylight-related metrics and parametric digital tools available nowadays, some first tests were carried out in order to assess their applicability in the field of façade components. Building energy simulations were performed in Grasshopper 3d ( using Ladybug Tools ( while structural aspects were investigated through CEM (, an equilibrium-based tool for spatial structures. The combination of some of the existing digital tools and metrics together with others that were specifically defined for the problem at hand, leads to a new and more comprehensive design platform. In order to test the proposed approach, the HIB building (ETH Hönggerberg Campus, Zürich) was chosen as a case study.
The outcome of the present work is to establish an efficient connection between structural behavior and building energy performances allowing a more comprehensive exploration of the design solutions space.