Importance of Visual Comfort in Daily Life

Categories: Climate Change


We are surrounded by dynamic environment. It reveals countless variety of forms and patterns. Pattern creation tends to create application across diverse scales, which proves them very powerful tool.
This study focuses on designing responsive shading system using different patterns of origami. Origami has been source of inspiration for a variety of applications in engineering and architecture because of inherent kinematic properties and visual appeal as well.
With the ever-growing variety of intelligent kinetic facades and embedded systems, we have a new way to simplify the design approach towards reduction of energy usage by built structures.

Well-designed sun control and shading systems can dramatically reduce building peak solar heat gain, cooling requirements and improve the indoor visual comfort.
Aim of the research is to design adaptable climate-responsive shading system for nonlinear building surfaces using computational tools to analyse pattern behaviour. Furthermore, this shading arrangement could be retrofitted to an existing glazed facade system.

Key Words: Responsive shading, Origami, Non-linear geometries, visual comfort, heat gain

Aim and Objectives


  • Aim of the research is to design adaptable climate-responsive shading system for nonlinear building surfaces which could be retrofitted to an existing glazed facade system.
  • Evaluation of existing kinetic shading system and discovering problems in current system.
  • Investigating different methods of pattern generation in order to design kinetic shading system.
  • Evaluating patterns on basis of different parameters like applicability on nonlinear surfaces, shape shifting proportions.
  • Selection of patterns based on radiation and illuminance analysis and applicability on nonlinear surfaces.
  • Materiality exploration for real time application in architectural realm.

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In this paper, different research methods were used for the evaluation of existing systems and patterns. The process of evaluating the performance of particular pattern via digital simulations and physical testing allows designers to overcome the limitations of the existing analytical and digital simulation tools. This investigation demonstrates the design approach and techniques to conduct an evaluation on kinetic design through physical prototyping and testing, which complement the findings gain from existing digital simulation tools.
Rapid analogue modelling and physical testing for pattern behaviour were used at the early design stages with the aid of digital tools for verification of the architectural kinetics whilst more detailed physical experimental tests were performed on a one-to-one scale installation on site.\nThe work explores to understand how adaptive facades were designed and assessed during the research

  1. Predesign research for patterns and responsive systems
  2. Evaluation of existing facade systems
  3. Identifying problems and challenges to current shading strategies
  4. Proposing design solution
  5. Analogue explorations for pattern creation
  6. Pattern evaluation on the basis of mechanism, non-linear surface translation ability and double-glazed panel constraints
  7. Pattern selection for various type of non-linear surfaces
  8. Environmental analysis
  9. Curvature analysis and pattern wise application
  10. Panel Fabrication and materiality
  11. Post-occupancy evaluation and monitoring


Patterns and Architecture

Nature reveals endless varieties of forms and patterns. Base geometries of patterns make them inherently efficient both with material usage and resources. Thus, patterns and architecture have close relation. Patterns generates aesthetical harmonious alignments and balance in structure. Base mathematics makes them easy to define, fabricate and install. In current scenario due to advancements in all fields patterns can be potentially used. Various cases can be seen in architecture where patterns are efficiently used in terms of material optimisation and performance. \n\n\n\n

Facade and Patterns

Building envelopes have been manifesting complex patterns and shapes. Within the architectural domain patterns have great application in development of facades due to aesthetical and environmental relevance. Nowadays, digital tools play relevant role in conception, analysis, and production. Digital design approaches promoted design exploration and the emergence of complex shapes & patterns. Using optimization algorithms based on multiple performance criteria, it is possible to explore a substantial design space in the search for solutions with an improved performance.


Responsive Shading Facade

According to a survey by the Energy Information Administration (EIA, 2013)1, buildings consume more energy than the industrial and transportation sectors. This is due to a majority of people spend most of their time indoors. These figures change across different developed countries but they point up a consistent global pattern towards excessive energy consumption by buildings.
We are surrounded by dynamic and ever-changing environment. But our buildings are Static. Our built environment can adjust to changing climatic conditions on an hourly, daily, seasonal, or annual basis. Adaptive facades are multi-objective, high performance envelopes. These skins respond mechanically or chemically to external climate dynamics to meet inside comfort requirements of occupant, unlike static curtain walls. kinetic facades are synchronised with surrounding changing climate. It responds to the sun path, intensity which helps in deciding the complexion of indoor space by simple and clean movements of facade elements. But current kinetic systems are majorly designed in linear surfaces and then tessellated on different types of building surfaces.
Primarily, buildings provide shelter and protection to occupant from external conditions like extreme heat or cold.
The building envelope acts as a physical barrier between interior and exterior environments. It works as an outer shell to help maintain indoor comfort while facilitating climate control. Now a days, improvement of building services application such as in lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), have been assigned to enhance the performance of indoor environment and thermal comfort. As a result, building envelopes are starting to lose their function as a moderator of energy and comfort and as a consequence, a building place a significant energy burden on maintaining optimal condition in building indoor environment and this problem contributes to one third of total greenhouse gas emissions2.
Although, buildings are seen as part of the problem contribute to global warming this issue presents significant opportunities for the building sector.

Catching up with the Past

Essentially, the theoretical work of number of people working in cybernetics in the early 1960s laid most of the groundwork for the projects are highlighted here. During this time, Gordon Pask, Norbert Wiener, and other cyberneticians made advancements toward understanding and identifying the field of interactive architecture by formulating their theories on the topic. Pask\'s conversation theory informed much of the original development in interactive architecture. Basically, establishing a model by which architects interpreted spaces and users as complete feedback systems. Cybernetic theory continued to be developed into the late sixties and early seventies by the Iike of Warren Grody, Nicholas Negroponte. Charles Eastman, Andrew Rabeneck and others, who expanded upon the earlier ideas of Pask and Wiener These early philosophies were then picked up by a few architects who solidly translated them into the arena of architecture. This work generally remained in the realm of paper architecture. However, Cedric Price was perhaps the most influential of the early architects to adopt the initial theoretical work in cybernetics, expanding it into the architectural concept of anticipatory architecture John Frazer extended Price\'s ideas in positing that architecture should be a “living, evolving thing” it is important to understand that while architects were developing these concepts, areas of digital computation and human interaction were advancing in parallel fashion within the sphere of computer science. From this work. fields such as intelligent environments (IE) were formed to study spaces with embedded computation and communication technologies, in turn creating spaces that bring computation into the physical world Intelligent environments are defined as spaces in which computation is seamlessly used to enhance ordinary activity. Numerous technologies were developed in this area to deal with sensory perception and human brains, but the corresponding architecture was always secondary as it was developed under the mantra of \"seamlessly embedded computation.\" In other words. there was very little architectural involvement in the developing field of computationally enhanced environments.

Shading Devices

Successful design of adaptive facades is a challenging task. Designing static façade is totally contrasts from designing dynamic components of adaptive facade that involves various state changes. The decision as to how they are operated, maintained, and assessed remains a crucial task. This research demonstrates platforms for designers to design and evaluate kinetic facades, which respond to environmental condition. This will be helpful to illustrate the benefits as well as the challenges seen in case of specific solutions with respect to energy use, comfort, operation, and maintenance.
Shading devices for building facades always represented fundamental systems to control the incoming of the natural light with purpose of improving indoor visual and thermal comfort. Protecting from sun radiation during summer and bringing in maximum radiation in winter is the major function of shading devices. These can be: 

  • Facade Panels
  • Blinds, Rollers
  • Screening Jali/walls
  • Structural Fins
  • Kinetic Shading

Kinetic facade panels can be further classified into:

  • Folding facades
  • Sliding facades
  • Layered facades
  • Turning facades
  • Special facades

Folding facades – In case of folding elements on a facade will add a third dimension to the facade by giving it depth. The first precedent that was analysed for this type was the SDU Kolding Campus Facade. The system consists of 1600 triangular shutters of perforated steel. They are fixed on the facade and will configure according to the changing sun intensity with photo-sensors which continuously measure the light and heat levels and they are mechanically controlled by a small engine.
Location of the university building is in Denmark. This system is dynamic solar shading system without any real improvements over other, less complex, shading systems. It gives a unique and varying appearance to the facade. By opening and closing different parts, the facade will be unique every day. As the location of the project is in Denmark the sun will be on a low angle throughout most of the period of the year. The choice of a vertical kinetic facade is therefore a good one because a horizontal shading system wouldn’t block as much sun. Main aim for facade probably wasn’t sustainability. They could have created double skin where air could be heated up to help reduce the buildings heating load.

The next precedent that was analysed for this type was the Kiefer Showroom, Austria. The facade is made of aluminium posts and transoms. The panels are EIFS-facade in white plaster. The sun screen moves on electronic shutters of aluminium panels. The kinetic facade is more a showcase of what the Kiefer company can do then a clever sun shading system. The user control can be useful, so you can close the facade if you have direct sunlight which enables user to personalize their own space. It doesn\'t come without problems though, as there are many moving parts the durability of such facades is still unknown. All these moving parts also add to the costs.

Layered Facades- Layered facade can be a double skin facade. The project studied for this type is the POLA Ginza Building. Pola is a cosmetic company in Japan. The building is in Tokyo and hence have very small footprint. The façade of the 14-story building contains 185 acrylic shutter structures that are enclosed within the double-glazed façade with kinetic mechanism. The shutters are composed of custom, curved acrylic panels that are approximately one by three meters. The kinetic panels receive sunlight and the heated air is discharged by the chimney effect on the top of the building. This double-glazing system reduces annual HVAC energy by 30%.

Turning Facades- Turning facades are one of the more common kinetic facades.
RMIT design hub- The skin of the structure seamlessly displays sustainable technology into the façade. It is the system with evaporative cooling and fresh air intakes that enhance the internal air quality and reduce operations costs. tectonically, the hub is an envelope of energy efficient design strategies, sporting a novel exterior comprised of turning cylindrical shading devices and a double glazed envelop. The high functioning envelope is a fabric of shading devices of sandblasted glass discs surrounds the entire building, a galvanized steel ring of slightly greater diameter defines each glass roundel. a composition of 21 glass and steel modules is arranged into a panel and affixed to the architecture’s outer planes. the accretion of these layered shading device is a high-performing cladding that additionally responds to the rich collaborations housed within.

Image References


  • venice-floors_-_Basilica_di_San_Marco_wpthumb-520×520
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  • source:
  • georgevlachodimos/docs/inplay_2016_proceedings
  • archdaily,2010
  • advances in architectural geometry 2016
  • S.-M. Belcastro and T. C. Hull. Modelling the folding of paper into three dimensions using affine transformations. Linear Algebra and its Applications, 348:273–282, 2002.
  • T. Buchner. Kinematics of 3D Folding Structures for Nanostructured Origami. Massachussets institute of Technology, 2003.
  • Don Sigal. Hyperbolic parabola. In Annual Collection of the Origami Convention 1989
  • Kinetica- A playful Way through moving facade

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Importance of Visual Comfort in Daily Life. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Importance of Visual Comfort in Daily Life
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