Dynamic Facade Prototype
“Daylighting is often regarded as an energy savings architectural statement. However, the benefits from daylighting extend beyond potential energy savings. The psychological and physiological effects of natural light also need to be considered. Healthy, comforting space with connections to the outdoor environment provides benefits as significant as energy savings. Case studies have proved that daylighting, natural views, and passively ventilated buildings result in healthier people who take fewer sick leaves. Moreover, recent studies have stated that long exposure to artificial light during the night can cause serious problems like breast cancer and can harm your circadian rhythm. In order to combat these problems this project aims to redesign the facade system of a typical office building, a place that people spend a large portion of their day.
The dynamic facade prototype proposes a retrofit for a standard 20ft x 30ft office building bay. The goal was to quantitatively improve the office environment by improving the lighting levels while also decreasing glare. The prototype was based on the following design principles: Transparency, Light, Vision, Shade, Air, Material, and Detail. These principles manifested themselves with in the aesthetic of the design as well as the quality of the interior space.
The design process included multiple iterations through small scale models, as well as digital modeling. Simulations were run on the digital model utilizing the IES VE (integrated environmental solutions) program examining illuminance levels and glare levels. These simulations helped guide the design move through each iteration. The next step was to build a full scale prototype and take measurements of the actual performance of the facade prototype.
The prototype was designed specifically for the south facade of an office building, because of the orientation of the FIT (Facade Integrated Technology) testing facility at the University of Oregon. The design utilizes perforated horizontal louvers to act as shading and light shelves. The louvers have a hinge in the middle, allowing the occupants to have some control over the level of transparency in the facade. The upper most louvers bend up, while the lower louvers bend down. This allows the occupant to have the option to create a view portal or have a higher level of shading.
The FIT testing facility provided data from a photometric meter as well as a thermal ribbon. The photometric data proved the effectiveness of the design in providing higher levels of illuminance deeper into the office building bay. The thermal ribbon showed that the facade design lowered the interior temperature, which would prove beneficial for mitigating cooling needs. The data analysis is limited by the sample size. More accurate conclusions could be made by examining the facade system through all seasons and in all positions.”